Massey Strike Seals Opening Day Win
Dundalk began the defence of their SSE Airtricity League title with a 1-0 win over Derry City at Oriel Park.
Dane Massey’s second half strike was the difference between the sides as Vinny Perth’s men got off to the perfect start in 2020.
Sean Gannon provided the cross for the first chance of the 2020 season when he found Patrick Hoban however he wasn’t troubling former Lilywhite Peter Cherrie with the effort while moments later, Dane Massey was brought down in the box however referee Neil Doyle waved away the appeals.
It was a typical opening match with a bit of scrappiness and Derry City registered their first opportunities in quick fire fashion when Tim Nilsen almost got in behind however Daniel Cleary got across to block while Jamie McDonagh fired into the side netting from an acute angle.
Hoban had another header which looked destined for the net from a Michael Duffy corner however Nilsen got in the way and deflected it just over the bar.
Neither side exerted their authority and couldn’t find a lead goal which left us scoreless at the break.
Dundalk did their best to rectify that immediately after the re-start when a Massey cross fell to Daniel Kelly and his impressive control bought him space and he caressed the ball beautifully however his effort whistled past the post.
Kelly came even closer moments later when the ball broke to him on the edge of the area and he fired but it came crashing back off the crossbar and gave Derry City the chance to clear.
The Lilywhites were nearly made to rue those missed chances as McDonagh’s superb cross from the right was to Nilsen and his effort looked bound for the net but Rogers made a simply stunning save to deny him from point blank range.
Conor Clifford’s loose back pass was picked up by Kelly as it was too short for Cherrie however Conor McCormack did brilliantly to recover.
Smith’s trickery and quick feet saw him wriggle free from Eoin Toal and get a rasping shot away but it was tipped over at full stretch by Cherrie.
The game then had a lull before Duffy got in between the tackles of Lupano and McCormack and got a shot away but it was straight at Cherrie.
We had another penalty appeal turned down when Gannon raided through on goal after a pinpoint Shields pass and the full back looked like he was brought down however Doyle once again said no.
As the match approached the final 10 minutes, Dundalk struck the vital blow.
A wonderful corner from substitute Jordan Flores was met by Massey and he swept the ball to the net.
There was little action of note following that strike. The home side retreated to defend their advantage and the introduction of Sean Hoare towards the 90th minute meant that we reverted to a back three.
Derry pinged crosses into the box hoping for a touch and the final one of the fourth minute of injury time indeed got a touch but it was gathered by Rogers which signalled the end of the evening and we kicked off our new season with three points!
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields (capt), Greg Sloggett (Jordan Flores 72); Daniel Kelly (Sean Hoare 87), Cammy Smith (Will Patching 75), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Aaron McCarey (GK), Brian Gartland,Darragh Leahy, Lido Lotefa.
Sent off: None.
DERRY CITY: Peter Cherrie; Danny Lupano, Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Ciaran Coll; Conor Clifford (Jack Malone 64), Conor McCormack (capt); Jamie McDonagh, Walter Figueira (Adam Liddle 77), Ciaron Harkin (Steven Mallon 83); Tim Nilsen.
Substitutes not used: Nathan Gartside (GK), Colm Horgan, Moussa Paul Bakayoko, Mark McChrystal.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle