Daire Doyle: 'It's gutting because we were so close to coming away with three points'

by Deniese O'Flaherty

Longford Town manager Daire Doyle was a little downcast after his side’s 1-1 draw with Derry City at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium on Friday evening. Against the run of play Town took the lead in the 74th minute through Rob Manley but right at the death the home side grabbed a dramatic equaliser.

Doyle said: “It does feel like a defeat. On the balance of play, a draw is a fair result. We limited them to the chances that they had. They had good patterns of play which I feel they worked well over the last couple of weeks with Ruaidhri (Higgins) coming in. A lot of things they’ve done which they hadn’t in the previous games. From a Derry point of view they’ll be pleased with that.”

Town had battled throughout and defended very well but in the final minute of stoppage time two defenders clashed as Derry played a long ball into the box and James Akintunde pounced to rescue a point for the home side. Doyle said: “Two of our own players coming together for the challenge where Shane (Elworthy) and Aaron (O’Driscoll) - who had a fantastic game in the heart of our defence - the one place you don’t want it to bounce, it lands for Akintunde.

"It’s gutting because we were so close to coming away with three points.”

Despite the concession of a late goal Doyle was happy with a lot of Town’s play throughout the game and wanted to focus on the positives: “We kept our shape really well and defended really well and we looked dangerous on the break. It’s a really nice ball around the corner from Dean and Rob gets in across the centre-back, he does great to put it away for his second goal in two games.

"It’s difficult we are here talking about seven points, we would’ve loved that. A win here today would’ve taken us above Derry. We put in a performance. It mightn’t have been as pretty as some of our other performances but what it was, was a battling  performance.”

Although it’s the second game in a row where Town were so close to three points but dropped two, Doyle is happy with how things are going for his side at the moment. He said: “We are doing lots of things right. The lads give everything, every time they go on the pitch, that can’t be doubted. This group keeps going and going.

"They’re as honest as the day is long and they give everything to the club. I hope that people looking in can recognise and see from the games just how hard this group are working. We could have a lot more points.”

It was the second game in a row where striker Rob Manley scored. The goal on Friday was well taken, he had to hold off a City defender before slotting the ball to the net. Doyle praised Manley: “The work that he gets through is something else. He’s a huge part of how we can play the game because of his work-rate.”

Next up for Town is a home game against Bohemians at Bishopsgate on Saturday evening. Doyle is hoping to see another good performance put in by his side: “It’s a huge game at home. We need to have a good week. We’ll have a little down time now over the weekend because we’ve had a really busy schedule. They’ve been really hard at it. They are a fit group and are hungry. I have no doubt we’ll get a performance again the next time we play.”