March 24, 2012
Derry City maintained their 100% home record in 2012 with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cork City. A double salvo from Mark Farren and Stephen McLaughlin early in the second proved to be enough for Derry to seal all three points. After falling two goals behind, Cork never looked like responding.
In relation to the performance of Patrick McEleney, there can be no doubt that he will have been both frustrated and disappointed with his display. However at this point it is worth noting that McEleney is still only 19 years old and he is a player on whom many place an extremely high level of expectation. Whilst this expectation is testament to the wealth of ability that this young man possesses, his age and inexperience should be borne in mind on occasions when he doesn’t set the world alight.
McEleney began the match on the right wing for Derry as they lined out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Whilst McEleney has been frequently the central attacking midfielder when Derry have adopted this formation, tonight that role belong to Owen Morrison.
In the early stages, McEleney’s work rate was notable. Whenever Cork attacked he covered significant ground, pressing and tackling with effort, but rarely with success.
As Derry’s attacks developed a notable trend in McEleney’s approach was that he would often come narrow in order to create space for the overlapping Madden, who again worked tirelessly as he proves to be Declan Devine’s best signing.
McEleney failed to create anything of note whilst playing on the right, however in his defence Madden and Morrison failed to pick him out on a number of occasions despite finding space in good, attacking areas.
Upon swapping positions with Owen Morrison on 28 minutes he immediately played a penetrating forward pass to Stephen McLaughlin on the left flank, where the Donegal man was fouled before entering the penalty area.
On 34 minutes, again, from a central position McEleney linked up excellently with Morrsion and Madden before beating a number of Cork City defenders as he managed to dribble the balli into the penalty area. However, he was dispossessed before he could get a shot off.
In the second half, McEleney looked rather lethargic and attempted only 7 passes in before being subbed on 76 minutes. The most positive aspect of his second half display was a free-kick that he hit from 35 yards, on the 51st minute, with a technique not that dissimilar to that adopted by Cristiano Ronaldo!
A few tactical insights:
- Derry City regularly played the ball out from the back in this game. At times they made mistakes as a result of this tactic, but for the large part it complemented Derry’s free flow attacking play, and it brought Madden in particular into play early in Derry’s attacks. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from Declan Devine’s men.
- After heavily criticising his performance on Tuesday night, Dermot McCaffrey was better tonight. He seemed to be more comfortable at left-back than he has been of late. He pulled out to make space when playing out from the back, used the ball much more efficiently than before and even made a few overlapping runs! Nevertheless, the jury is still out and it feels a bit cheap to compliment him too heavily on being able to execute the basic role of a left-back.
- Stephen McLaughlin is a colossus in the air. Already this season he has scored or created two goals with his head, but against Cork he caused more problems in the air as he had a fine headed goal disallowed as well as also forcing McNulty into a number of saves via these means.
- Dan Murray must hate playing against Mark Farren. Farren has left Murray for dead on a number of occasions in the past and throughout this game he broke away from the Cork defence on a number of occasions, and got himself on the scoresheet on 49 minutes as he latched onto an exquisite Barry Molloy pass.
- On both occasions that I have seen Cork City this season (against Shamrock Rovers and Derry City) they sat very deep early in the game. Through doing this they effectively managed to nullify the other teams attack. They are extremely well organised as they line-up with two tight-knit banks of four, and their strategy often sees their two forwards (Vinny Sullivan and Davin O’Neill) drop well into their own halves as they play with 11 men behind the ball at all times.
- Playing like this does give Cork City the opportunity for a quick, concise counter attack. During one of these breaks against Derry, Daryl Horgan smashed a left-footed strike against the Derry City crossbar. Whilst they threatened on a few other occasions, this was as good as it got. With players like Davin O’Neill, Shane O’Connor and Daryl Horgan Cork have the creative nous necessary to cause problems for teams in this league, however they lacked the luck that they needed at crucial points in this game. Cork have been underdogs in both of the games that I have seen them in this season. I would be tactically intrigued to monitor their approach against a team in which they are favourites.
Image courtesy of Margaret McLaughlinThis entry was posted in League of Ireland, Performance Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. ← Analysis of Derry City’s Full-Backs (Derry City v Linfield: Part 2) Love of the Game →