Belfast Telegraph

Derry City face a huge task after their home defeat

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City have it all to do in Belarus next week as a howler from Shane McEleney gifted Shakhtyor Soligorsk a precious win at the Brandywell last night. McEleney's attempt at a back pass to goalkeeper Gerard Doherty 28 minutes into the Europa League tie went straight to Soligork striker Nikolai Yanush, who punished the defender and Derry with the game's only goal.

The Belarussians showed their quality throughout last night's tie, and had Gerard Doherty not been in sensational form throughout, they would have left the Brandywell with a comfortable lead ahead of next Thursday's second leg.

Derry only came into the game when Soligorsk decided to sit back and defend their lead in the latter stages of the second half and they very nearly grabbed a vital equaliser as a result, when Rory Patterson's goal bound shot was cleared off the line.

But it was ultimately disappointment for Derry who lost only their second European tie at home in their last nine outings.

Derry weathered an early storm from the visitors and gave the Brandywell crowd some encouragement with Patrick McEleney sending Patterson through on goal, and although the striker send the ball under goalkeeper Artur Kotenko and into the net, celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

As the half hour mark approached Derry were holding their own, but all their discipline and organisation were blown to pieces by the absolute howler from McEleney to concede the goal.

Derry pushed and pushed in the closing stages but just could not score and now they face a mountainous task in Belarus next week.

Derry City: Doherty, Shane McEleney, Byrne, McBride, Barry, Timlin, Molloy, Barry McNamee, Duffy, Patrick McEleney, Patterson. Subs: Gallagher, Ventre, Boyle, Tracey, Lowry, Dooley, Curran.

Shakhtyor: Kotenko, Kuzmyanok, Yanushkevich, Kashewski, Matsveychyk, Starhorodskyi, Halyuza, Yurevich, Balanovich, Yanush, Ryas. Subs: Gavrilov, Tsevan, Lyavonchyk, Guruli, Ivanow, Vasilewski.

Referee: Danilo Grujic (Serbia).

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