DAVID PARKHOUSE scored his eighth goal in four games as Derry City inched into the second round of the FAI Cup with a narrow victory against Wexford at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Derry City 1-0 Wexford FC
Shaun Keenan reports the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The Derry City striker’s late winner put Derry through to the next round, just about.
In fairness, Wexford were defensively brilliant for most of the tie, frustrating the Candystripes for most of the 90 minutes.
City have won the FAI three times since the turn of the century but you’d have to go back to 2012, during Declan Devine’s initial stewardship, to see the Candstripes last lift the domestic honour.
And the Derry manager took no chances against Wexford Youths.
Despite making five changes, he named a side that included Barry McNamee as captain and Parkhouse, Michael McCrudden and Conor Davis in attack.
Alarm bells were ringing early for the Wexford FC defence as City began at a ferocious pace, Michael McCrudden’s shot skimming past the far post following a nice deft pass from David Parkhouse.
But in truth, however, the first half was low-key and an injury to referee Damien McGrath just before the half an hour mark, prompting fourth official Garvin Taggart into action, took the sting out of the game.
City, high off their EA Sports Cup final progression against Waterford on Monday night, failed to find their rhythm as the Wexford defence eased through the first 45 minutes on Foyleside.
Devine, a frustrated looking figure for most of the first half, remained vexed for much of the second.
This was his chance to show that the tactical nous that has brought Derry success at home recently and what could bring the Lone Moor Road side a chance to flex their muscles against a side who sit rock bottom of Division One.
But Derry failed to truly test the Wexford keeper Corey Chambers for a large chunk of cup affair, Barry McNamee going close after 75 minutes with a 20-yard free-kick.
The Derry captain almost taking matters into his own hands, forcing Chambers to scramble across his goal line and clear the threat in the final 15 minutes.
City had another prime opportunity from the resulting corner when Darren McCauley’s nodded effort put it on a plate for Eoin Toal but his effort went out for a goal kick from close range.
However, in the final 10 minutes, Derry began to turn the screw and it looked only a matter of time before Wexford’s valiant defensive structure would be infiltrated.
Brian O’Sullivan’s side looked like they would force the game into extra-time – before who else other than David Parkhouse slammed one home from inside the penalty area.
It was cruel on Wexford with strong performances from two more centre-halves, Daibhid Corish and Lee Costello, throwing themselves to try and block every cross and shot, that also marked this performance.