Jordan McEneff scored two well-taken first half goals as Derry City maintained their leadership of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division table with a comfortable victory at the UCD Bowl on Monday night.
Following on from their win at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night, the result was all the more pleasing for the Foylesiders on hearing that Shamrock Rovers drew a rollercoaster game at home to Cork City, stretching the gap between them and the champions, who remain second bottom, to seven points.
Two 4-0 defeats on the bounce leaves UCD languishing at the foot of the table with just one point from their four games.
Assistant manager Alan Reynolds took charge of Derry on the night as Ruaidhri Higgins attended the funeral of his older brother, who passed away in Sweden last month.
With four changes from their win in Dublin 24 on Friday, Derry were ahead from their first incisive attack of the game on 15 minutes.
McEneff proved architect and executioner as he initially sent Ryan Graydon in behind down the left with a perfectly weighted pass.
Though the winger’s shot was parried away by the legs of Lorcan Healy, the loose ball ran to McEneff who showed admirable composure to cut inside a defender before confidently curling a right-foot shot to the top corner.
Content to sit on their lead and with UCD struggling to create anything going forward, the game descended into a lull until four minutes before the interval when McEneff reignited it with another superbly contrived and finished goal.
Ronan Boyce and Brandon Kavanagh combined on the right for the latter to thread a delightful ball through for the run of McEneff.
The 22-year-old once again showed excellent poise to race through, tap the ball one side of Healy, run round the opposite side and slide it into the unguarded net for his fourth goal of the season.
UCD finally worked Brian Maher in the Derry goal for the first time two minutes after the resumption.
Skipper Jack Keaney got his head on the end of a floated free kick from Ciaran Behan which the Candystripes keeper did well to hold low down.
Over that scare, Derry sealed their win on 65 minutes when punishing a goalkeeping howler.
On the pitch just a minute, substitute Ollie O’Neill out ran Donal Higgins onto Doherty’s ball down the left.
Healy looked set to gather but took his eye off the ball and fumbled it into the path of O’Neill, who cut across and tapped into the net for his first goal for the club.
Will Patching may claim Derry’s fourth goal on 75 minutes, his free kick taking an initial deflection off the defensive wall and then a nick off Evan Osam to trickle into the far corner for what must go down as an own goal.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Brendan Barr, Harvey O’Brien (Evan Osam 67), Jack Keaney, Jesse Dempsey (Adam Wells 67); Mark Dignam, Donal Higgins, Dara Keane (Divine Izekor 72), Danny Norris (Harry O’Connor 81); Ciaran Behan; Alex Nolan (Danu Kinsella-Bishop 72).
Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Shane McEleney, Mark Connolly (Ciaran Coll 70), Ben Doherty; Will Patching (Evan McLaughlin 78), Sadou Diallo; Brandon Kavanagh (Ollie O’Neill 64), Jordan McEneff, Ryan Graydon (Matt Ward 70); Cian Kavanagh (Jamie McGonigle 64).
Referee: David Dunne (Dublin)Tags: