Derry City returned to winning ways last night as the Candystripes fought off a resolute Galway United side, 2-1 at Maginn Park.
Goals from Ronan Curtis and Nathan Boyle were enough to secure the Candystripes third place going into the mid-season break with a game in-hand over 4th place Bray Wanderers.
Kenny Shiels made three changes heading into tonight’s fixture with Nathan Boyle and Rory Holden coming in to replace the injured Mikhail Kennedy and Nicky Low, with Joshua Daniels preferred to Lukas Schubert.
It was the visitors that would strike first with Gary Shanahan putting the ball past Gerard Doherty with only two and a half minutes on the clock, only to have his celebrations cut short by the offside flag.
The Foylesiders weren’t long in responding, with Joshua Daniels earning a free kick after being brought down by Galway’s Marc Ludden at the edge of the 18 yard box. Ronan Curtis stepped up to convert the resulting free kick, firing the ball confidently into the bottom corner of Connor Winn’s goal.
City added to their lead minutes later as Barry McNamee broke through the Galway back line to put a fantastic ball across the box, for Nathan Boyle to head home his first goal in 14 games.
City continued to mount pressure on Shane Keegan’s Galway side and could have went further ahead on 12 minutes as Barry McNamee ghosted through the Galway defence, only to be denied by a routine Conor Winn save. Another chance fell for the Candytripes in the resulting corner as young Rory Holden found space at the front post and forced a good save from the Galway Keeper.
The visitors did eventually break the Derry defence as Gary Shanahan’s scuffed effort found its way past Gerard Doherty after some poor defending. As the half went on, Galway began to come into the game and nearly levelled the score on 29 minutes after Kevin Devaney sent a ball to the front post only for Ronan Murray to flick the ball just wide of the goal.
Galway almost levelled proceedings on the half hour mark, after a fantastic, training ground-based free kick from Ronan Murray was tipped over the bar by Gerard Doherty in the city goal.
Chances were very few and far between for the remainder of the first half for the Candystripes, with Kenny Shiels men leading going into the break.
After a cagey start to the second half, it was Curtis who fashioned the first real chance of the half on 54 minutes after a scramble in the Galway 6 yard box, Ronan Curtis failed to convert the loose ball, sending his shot high over the crossbar.
Vinny Faherty should really have put the visitors on level terms around the hour mark after his well hit strike, cannoned off the Derry City crossbar, only for Gary Shanahan’s rebounded effort to be deflected wide.
The final few of chances in the game fell to Kenny Shiels’ men with 13 minutes left on the clock. Ronan Curtis did well to find Nathan Boyle unmarked in the box, but the striker’s header was cleared off the line by Lee Grace. One further chance fell to Boyle with 10 minutes to go, after a superb piece of skill from Ronan Curtis, sent Dean Jarvis on his way into the box to pull the ball back for Boyle, only to have his effort hit the post.
Derry City: G Doherty, Monaghan, McDermott, Barry, Jarvis; McEneff, Holden; Curtis, McNamee, Daniels; Boyle (B Doherty 86).
Galway United: Winn, Horgan, Ludden, Grace, Holohan, Cawley, Faherty (Cunningham 82), Devaney (Melody 87), Shanahan, Murray, Folan.