By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats when they face Derry City at Maginn Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Having won their opening two games, the Drogs suffered two defeats in the space of just four days as they lost 4-1 at home to Cork City before going down 2-1 to Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds.
A slow start was to prove costly as Drogheda found themselves 2-0 down within the opening 20 minutes and Drogheda boss Pete Mahon has acknowledged that his side needs to start brighter in order to get results.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb again and in the end it was just too much,” Mahon explained Thursday evening. “Aside from the opening quarter of the game, I was quite pleased with our performance even if the goals we gave away were terrible from a defensive point of view.
“We should’ve gone ahead before they scored and then once Ciaran McGuigan pulled one back, I thought we would get the equaliser. Even when we went down to ten men, we reshuffled to three at the back and still pushed forward, creating chances. Bray could’ve scored on the break with the pace they have but I felt we were unlucky not to get a point.”
Another element of his side’s performances that has frustrated Mahon has been their ill-discipline. The Boynesiders have been reduced to ten men in both of their defeats and Mahon believes that his side need to be more street-wise going forward.
“It’s a simple thing to say but we can’t afford to get players sent off and then expect to pick up results. I’ve no problem with the red card against Cork as we believe it was the wrong decision but I can’t accept players getting booked for dissent.
“Luke Gallagher got booked for something he said to the ref and then gave him an easy decision to make a few minutes later. We’re hoping it’s something that the rest of the squad can learn from.”
Derry go into Saturday’s game with a 100% record having won three games from three and Mahon believes that the Candystripes will be in the reckoning when the honours are handed out at the end of the season.
“Derry are on a roll at the moment and it doesn’t surprise me, they were my tip for the title at the start of the season. Kenny Shiels has a fantastic squad and a fan base that’s firmly behind them.
“I’ve never been to Maginn Park so I’m looking forward to the experience. I hear it’s going to be a sellout and it’ll be another fantastic learning experience for our players.
“The games are coming thick and fast for us at the moment and having lost two in a row, we are eager to put that right. If we play to our potential and cut out the mistakes, I don’t see why we can’t end that run on Saturday.”
Long-term injury victim Killian Brennan misses out on the trip north while Luke Gallagher is suspended. Richie Purdy will be available again with the second half of his suspension taking place next week.