Derry City came from behind to win their third league game in succession against a Galway United team who have lost their unbeaten record following Friday night’s SSE Airtricity League game at the Brandywell.
The Tribesmen took the lead mid-way through the first half via winger Kevin Devaney, but the home side won the match with two goals late in the second period. Substitute Nathan Boyle equalised with 15 minutes to play before he won it at the death for the Candystripes.
The game began quite tentatively and the first opportunity of note fell to Derry defender Ryan McBride. The ball broke to the towering number 5 on the edge of the area, but his effort went well wide of Conor Winn’s goal.
Another baron spell of play materialised as neither side were able to take a stubborn foothold in midfield areas over the next ten minutes with Conor McCormack and Ryan Connolly having a strong midfield tussle.
The first chance for the visitors arrived through pacey winger Gary Shanahan. The former Dundalk man drove at his marker, Dean Jarvis, rounded the left-back with ease, but his powerful daisy-cutting effort was comfortably saved by Ger Doherty in goal for Derry.
Galway were now settling into the rhythm that has seen them collect seven points from a possible nine to date, with Connolly dictating play from his deep-lying midfield position.
Tommy Dunne’s side took the lead soon after through former Sligo Rovers winger Devaney. Gary Shanahan again out manoeuvred Jarvis down the right and his pass from the byline was perfect for Devaney to sweep the ball home to give the Tribesmen the lead that they had deserved.
The game continued to be dominated by the impressive visitors and their confidence was clear for all to see. Enda Curran’s visionary 40-yard shot which tried to catch Doherty out of his goal epitomised the self-belief that was oozing from the visitors, who were continually calm and assured in possession.
However, the Candystripes almost scored an unlikely equaliser eight minutes from the interval. Winger Gareth McGlynn’s sizzling free-kick was superbly tipped over by Winn as the home side began to apply some pressure the United rear-guard.
Three consecutive corners lifted the home support. However, the Tribesmen did well to defend all three of the set-pieces. The late first half pressure continued but Connolly and Winn both prevented equalisers with Winn saving from McBride again.
The second period begun with the goal scorer Devaney being replaced by Ruairí Keating as the half began without much action of note.
The Tribesmen were retaining good midfield possession in the Candystripe half until a slack pass was intercepted by the home side. Their sweeping counter-attack was crucially halted by Paul Sinnott in Galway’s back line.
From the resulting corner, a scramble ensued deep inside United’s area, but McBride again passed up an opportunity to equalise when he deflected an effort on goal wide.
City boss Kenny Shiels decided to introduce Nathan Boyle on the hour mark and his arrival was to prove very significant in the outcome of the match.
The Candystripes missed another big chance to equalise soon after when Ronan Curtis skied a chance that he should really have done better with, as all inside the famous ground sensed an leveller coming.
City had much of the possession as they built up pressure but they couldn’t seem to get on level terms with Folan and Sinnott looking assured at the back for Galway.
The pressure finally told 15 minutes from time when Boyle smashed home to the delight of the home faithful. A scramble developed in the 18-yard area defended by the Tribemen, they failed to clear and Boyle drove home past the helpless Winn.
That lifted the home side and the crowd became very vociferous in their support of Shiels’ men. Galway continued to be under pressure for the match’s final epoch.
Killian Cantwell was introduced to try and shore things up at the back, but he couldn’t prevent Josh Daniels’ stinging effort which seemed ordained to hit the net, only for Winn to make an outstanding fingertip save.
Although Galway cleared the follow-up corner, severe pressure was building on the visitor’s goal, and the heart-breaking goal from Galway’s point of view arrived two minutes into stoppage time. Boyle marvellously stole in behind the away side’s defence and hammered the ball past Winn, who really was left with no chance.
Derry hung on to move onto nine league points much to the delight of all involved and a huge cheer met referee Adriano Reale’s full-time whistle. Galway remain on seven points and will be reeling at their late concession of a point.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Niclas Vemmelund, Dean Jarvis; Gareth McGlynn (Joshua Daniels 66), Conor McCormack, Barry McNamee, Harry Monahan (Nathan Boyle 57); Ronan Curtis (Aaron McEneff 71), Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Mark McElhinney, Jordan Allan, Keith Ward, Patrick McClean.
Booked: Harry Monahan (49).
Galway United: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Stephen Folan, Paul Sinnott, Stephen Walsh; Gary Shanahan, John Sullivan, Ryan Connolly, Kevin Devaney (Ruairí Keating 46); Enda Curran (Killian Cantwell 75), Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Kevin Horgan, Conor Melody, Conor Rafferty, Pádraic Cunningham, Eric Foley.
Booked: John Sullivan (45), Gary Shanahan (85).
Referee: Adriano Reale
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Nathan Boyle (Derry City)