Odhran Crumley reporting from the Brandywell.
Jack Doyle’s first goal for Derry City was enough to seal victory over Waterford for Kenny Shiels’ men on Friday night in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division. The win extends their winning run to six in a row in all competitions.
Waterford were the fourth team to visit the newly redeveloped Lonemoor Road venue and like the other three sides, they made the trip home a beaten side.
Ronan Curtis produced real class in the opening minutes for the Candystripes taking the ball down with the deftest of touches from a real height.
Curtis then attacked down the left only for his cross to be blocked away for a corner which came to nothing.
Ten minutes into the game the first half chance fell to Rory Patterson. Waterford keeper Lawrence Vigouroux taking a heavy touch allowing Patterson to close in but Vigouroux done just enough to avert the danger.
After this the lion share of first half possession was controlled by the visitors. The Munster men won a series of corners but in most instances they were dealt with astutely by Gerard Doherty.
Twenty minutes into the game Derry went on the attack again after some tenacious play from Jack Doyle up the left win a corner.
Nicky Low swung the corner in and it was only headed as far as Rory Hale on the edge of the box but his volleyed effort flew over the bar.
Three minutes later Alan Reynolds men came ever so close to opening the scoring. The visitors went on the break through Gavan Holohan who played in Izzy Akinade.
Akinade put the ball past the onrushing Gerard Doherty and it looked a certain goal only for Gavin Peers to superbly race back and clear the ball off, of the goal line.
Minutes later Akinade and Holohan combined for the latter to find himself in on goal only for the alert Gerard Doherty to race off his line and clear.
Derry then had an attack of their own Curtis showing real flair to skip past three men before playing the ball wide to Conor McDermott
McDermott’s cross was taken down by Aaron McEneff who in turn teed up Rory Hale but his low effort was saved by Vigouroux.
On the stroke of half time a long Waterford ball saw Akinade in behind as Eoin Toal lost his footing.
But like a superhero Gavin Peers appeared from out of nowhere to block the shot and avert all danger to the Derry goal.
The sides went in at the break level with neither side able to open the scoring.
Whatever Kenny Shiels said at half time definitely worked as a rejuvenated Derry City side emerged for a second half, which they would dominate.
Going on the front foot from the outset Patterson headed over the top before another meandering Curtis run saw him enter the box but hit his effort straight at Vigouroux.
In the fifty third minute of the game the deadlock was broken as a delightful ball from Ronan Hale met the head of arguably the smallest man on the pitch, Jack Doyle before going in the bottom corner of the net.
After taking the lead many sides would sit back and look to consolidate but not this Derry side.
On the hour mark Aaron McEneff should have doubled the advantage. Wonderful footwork from Ronan Hale saw him skip past his man squaring the ball to McEneff but once again Vigouroux saved.
Pinball then ensued in the six yard box before the ball fell back into the hands of a relived Vigouroux.
Ronan Hale and Jack Doyle both had shots that tailed off target as the game entered five minutes of additional time.
One would expect the side that is trailing to do all the attacking in this time. But Shiels’ men opted for the ‘attack is the best form of defence’ mantra with Patterson, Curtis and Ronan Hale all having chances.
In the end the final whistle sounded to rapturous Brandywell reception as Derry City kept their 100% home record intact.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott (Darren Cole 57), Aaron McEneff, Rory Hale, Ronan Curtis, Rory Patterson, Gavin Peers, Eoin Toal, Ronan Hale, Jack Doyle, Nicky Low.
Subs not Used: Eric Grimes, Jamie McDonagh, John Cofie, Ben Doherty, Scot Whiteside, Niall Logue.
Yellow Cards: Rory Patterson (45), Gavin Peers (64).
Red Cards: None.
Waterford FC: Lawrence Vigouroux, Garry Comerford (John Martin 70), Paul Keegan, Sander Puri (Dean Walsh 76), Gavan Holohan, Faysel Kasmi, Rory Feely, John Kavanagh, David Webster, Dylan Barnett (Derek Daly 70), Izzy Akinade.
Subs not Used: Niall Corbet, Kenny Browne, Dean O’Halloran.
Yellow Cards: Garry Comerford (64).
Red Cards: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle
Attendance: 2,200 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Gavin Peers (Derry City)