Lorcan Doherty/INPHO Danny Lafferty and Derry City celebrate.
# having a laff
Stunning Lafferty brace helps Derry City to leapfrog Drogheda
Tonight’s victory saw the Candystripes keep consecutive league clean sheets for the first time in almost a year.

Derry City 3

Drogheda United 0

Simon Collins reports from the Ryan McBride Brandywell

DANNY LAFFERTY’s STUNNING nine-minute, second-half brace ensured a comfortable victory for a slick Derry City side who leapfrogged Drogheda United into fifth position.

It was the ex-Sheffield United and Burnley defender’s fourth goal in three games and his second was the pick of the bunch as he lobbed Drogheda keeper David Odomusu from the edge of the box.

It was the perfect night for Ruaidhri Higgins’ charges in front of the biggest attendance at the Brandywell venue since March 2020 with 1,150 supporters permitted into the ground for the visit of the Boynesiders.

And it was the first time Derry have kept consecutive clean sheets in the league since September 2020 as they moved a point above their Co. Louth opponents.

City striker Jamie McGonigle got the hosts off to the best possible start with a sublime goal on 40 minutes to mark his full debut.

Lafferty added a second with a clinical close-range strike from a corner kick on 66 minutes and completed his brace with that stunning effort on 75 minutes which caught Odomusu in no-man’s land.

Former Crusaders striker McGonigle was first to test the opposition keeper on 15 minutes with a shot from distance but David Odumosu saved comfortably.

McGonigle found himself in space down the right wing after latching onto a searching Ronan Boyce pass and after bringing it inside on his left foot he snatched at his shot and Odumosu saved at his near post.

At the other end Killian Philips fired a left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area towards goal but Nathan Gartside wasn’t troubled.

From an in-swinging McLaughlin free-kick on the right, Boyce rose highest but his header towards the back post was headed off the line by the alert Gary Deegan.

Lafferty flashed a header wide of the mark from a corner kick on the half hour mark as Derry began to build momentum.

The Candystripes broke the deadlock five minutes before the break as Joe Thomson found McGonigle with a terrific ball and the striker took a deft touch, brought it onto his right foot away from Dan O’Reilly before firing past Odumosu from six yards.

It was a clinical finish and the lead was no more than Derry deserved having dominated the opening half.

Drogheda brought Corcoran off the bench to replace Ronan Murray at half-time and the visitors began the second period sharply with Darragh Markey trying his luck from distance but Gartside saved well.

Thomson was played clean through on goal on 53 minutes by a neat reverse pass from McGonigle but after breaking into the opposition box the Scotsman’s low strike was gathered well by Odomuso.

Drogheda were much more competitive in the second half and Mark Doyle worked a great chance when getting away from his man inside the Derry box but his shot from a tight angle hit the side netting.

From a corner kick the ball fell to Thomson who was lurking on the edge of the box and his beautifully hit volley was tipped over the bar at full stretch by Odumosu.

From the resultant corner, the ball made its way to Lafferty at the back post and his first time strike on his left foot found the corner of the net to double Derry’s lead on 66 minutes.

The ex-Burnley defender added a second nine minutes later with an audacious effort from the edge of the box which caught the Drogheda keeper off his line and it sailed into the back of the net.

Corcoran almost pulled one back as Derry fell asleep from a quick Drogheda free-kick but his effort at the near post was parried away by Gartside with six minutes to go.

Substitute Will Fitzgerald came so close to adding a fourth for Derry in the final minute after his shot on the turn struck the inside of the post and bounced clear.

Derry saw out the game comfortably to move ahead of Drogheda in the table after back-to-back league wins.

Derry City: N. Gartside: R Boyce, C. McJannet, C. Coll; J. Malone (D. Cole 72), C. Harkin, J. Thomson, D Lafferty; E. McLaughlin (B. Hery 72); J. Akintunde (P .Ferry 84), J. McGonigle (W. Fitzgerald 76): Subs Not Used – J. Lemoignan, D. Parkhouse, M. McChrystal, M. Harris, C. Porter.

Drogheda Utd: D. Odumosu; J. Brown, D. O’Reilly, D. Massey, C. Kane; D. Markey, G.Deegan (L. Heeney 79), J. Hyland (J. Clarke 69), K. Phillips; M. Doyle; R. Murray (D. Corcoran h-t); Subs Not Used – C. McCabe, M. Boudiaf.

Referee: Rob Hennessy.

Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella are joined by Craig Ray on The42 Rugby Weekly to preview the deciding third Lions Test on Saturday.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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