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Derry secure their Euro spot as Shiels signs new deal

Derry City 2 Sligo Rovers 1

By Eoin Wilson

Published 22/10/2016

Goal-den boy: Barry McNamee hit Derry City’s winner against Sligo Rovers
Goal-den boy: Barry McNamee hit Derry City’s winner against Sligo Rovers

Derry City claimed third spot in the SSE Airtricity League last night with a deserved victory over Sligo Rovers as boss Kenny Shiels extended his Brandywell contract until the end of the 2018 season.

City started the game five points clear of Shamrock Rovers and Barry McNamee's goal was enough for their first third place finish since 2011.

The home team had a great opportunity to take the lead just two minutes in when Ronan Curtis found Lukas Schubert, but Sligo netminder Ciaran Nugent got down well to save the Austrian's shot.

The pace of Sligo striker Philip Roberts caused the Derry defence problems all night and he came close to opening the scoring with an audacious chip from 25 yards that bounced off the underside of the crossbar and out.

A mistake from Conor McDermott let Daniel Kearns in down the left but, with Cristian Castells coming across on the cover, the Sligo man's ball was over the head of the unmarked Kieran Sadlier.

Both sides struggled to create any goalscoring opportunities but with 21 minutes gone it was the home team on the front foot.

A quick free played to Schubert caught the Rovers defence out but the ball across the face of goal was poor with both McNamee and Curtis ready to tap it in.

Aaron McEneff came close to breaking the deadlock but his 25-yard free was pushed out by Nugent.

City were piling on the pressure and they had their best chance of the half when Rory Patterson found Curtis on the right but the front man's shot was straight at Nugent.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Gerard Doherty's weak punch from a Sligo corner reached Pat McCann, who did well to chip the ball over the head of the helpless City defence.

Derry started the second half brightly and the home team should have been level four minutes in when Josh Daniels' cut back found Patterson free on the edge of the area but the top scorer's shot flew wide.

The Candystripes did have the ball in the back of the net on 54 minutes when a floated ball from McNamee was headed in by Castells but the centre-half was adjudged to be offside.

Sligo were struggling to get out of their own half and Curtis' ball across found Conor McCormack in the box but Nugent showed great reflexes to save the midfielder's snapshot.

City deservedly drew level on 64 minutes when Daniels' blocked attempt fell to McEneff and the midfielder's powerful 20 yard shot found the bottom right corner.

The City pressure was rewarded on 78 minutes when substitute Nathan Boyle's blocked shot was met by McNamee who finished past the helpless Nugent to put the Candystripes ahead.

The final whistle was met with cheers from the Brandywell crowd and, with Shiels' one year contract extension, the future is looking bright for the City men.

Shiels said: "I can see the seeds which are being planted and it's great to be part of something which is growing.

"I'm in a good place with the people here."

Derry City: Doherty, Jarvis, McEneff, McCormack, McNamee (Doherty 80), Patterson, Daniels, Castells, McDermott (Whiteside 80), Curtis, Schubert (Boyle 70).

Sligo Rovers: Nugent, Donelon (Doyle 84), Leahy, McCann, Roddan, Roberts, Sadlier, Boylan, Russell (Place 76), Kearns, Peers.

Referee: Raymond Matthews.

Belfast Telegraph

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