Quigley fires Sligo seven clear

Mark Quigley broke Derry City hearts at The Brandywell last night, the Sligo striker pouncing with five minutes remaining to open up a seven-point lead at the summit of the Premier Division.

And while the Bit O’Red certainly deserved their victory, it was tough on injury-ravaged Derry City, who battled back into the game before being punished for sloppy defensive play.

Missing key personnel such Stewart Greacen, Kevin Deery, Rory Patterson and Mark Farren due to injury, and with first-team regulars Simon Madden and Stephen McLaughlin suspended, Derry were always going to be in difficulty against the league pacesetters.

Sligo certainly enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession during the first half but they failed to penetrate the Derry defence.

And there was no doubt either that the home side rode their luck on occasions when giving the ball away cheaply.

Having not conceded by the break, the determined Candystripes continued to battle, with memories of their 4-0 EA Sports Cup demolition by Sligo last month still fresh in their minds.

Quigley was presented with the first clear-cut chance following a Ross Gaynor corner after four minutes.

The Dubliner got his head to the cross but failed to direct the ball at the target and a glorious chance was lost.

And in the 26th minute, Gaynor crashed a snap-shot off the Derry upright after a defender had played the ball into his path.

Derry, with young former Monaghan United striker Conor Murphy making his debut despite a lack of match practice, huffed and puffed during the opening period without ever forcing Sligo’s Gary Rogers into a serious save.

Following the change of ends, Derry appeared to up the ante with Owen Morrison displaying the confidence to shoot from distance.

But at the other end, Derry keeper, Gerard Doherty, pulled off an outstanding save when tipping Quigley’s curling effort over his crossbar.

However, having pulled off that top drawer stop, Doherty amazingly failed to gather David Cawley’s long range shot in the 54th minute.

With the Sligo midfielder shooting from a distance of more than 20 yards, the Derry keeper appeared to misjudge the flight of the ball as it flew past him, leaving the Brandywell support stunned.

Four minutes later, the league leaders could have doubled their advantage but Romauld Boco lashed his shot over the crossbar.

Derry’s Ryan McBride nudged the ball wide of the target following a corner in the 61st minute as the home side attempted to get back on terms.

And, sensationally, the “Candystripes” restored equality in the 64th minute with a magnificent goal.

Debutant Murphy played a wonderfully weighted ball forward which saw the alert Davy McDaid outwit centre-half, Gavin Peers before dinking the ball over the head of the advancing Rogers.

But with five minutes remaining Derry were punished again for sloppy defending, having failed to clear their lines.

Crawley gained possession and when he found Boco, the Sligo winger set up Quigley who lashed the ball home from 10 yards, giving Doherty not chance.

DERRY CITY: Doherty; McCallion (Curran, 88), McBride, S. McEleney, McCaffrey; P. McEleney, Higgins, Molloy, McDaid; Morrison, Murphy (Brolly, 82).

SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane (Conneely, 40), Peers, McGuinness, Gaynor; Ndo, Ventre (Dillon, 85), Cawley, Boco; Quigley, Cretaro (Millieon, 72).

Referee: D. Hancock (Dublin).

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