April 7, 2012
Derry City’s 0-0 draw with UCD marked Kevin Deery’s first start and 90 minutes of the 2012 season. Had Barry Molloy not been dismissed late in the previous match against Drogheda United, it is unlikely that Deery, who has not yet attained full match sharpness, would have been called upon to play the whole game.
No doubt Declan Devine will be unhappy that his team were unable to record a fifth consecutive home win, but truth be told, City’s performance lacked intensity and sharpness in the final third. Derry also looked shaky at the back, with Eddie McCallion being forced to play at centre-back as Shane McEleney and Stewart Greacen were absent through injury.
Kevin Deery is a joy to watch because he is one of those players who craves possession and takes great satisfaction in making incisive and cutting passes. Tonight he perhaps didn’t show to receive the ball from the back four as much as he would have done with more games under his belt. That said, his presence, in time, can only complement and enhance City’s performances.
In the early stages, Deery put himself about effectively, winning the ball for Derry twice in the first 5 minutes with two well-timed tackles.
Throughout his career, Deery has often been deemed a set-piece taker, regularly taking free-kicks and corners. Against UCD however, he was in the box, attacking set-pieces at every opportunity – and with good effect. On 7 minutes, when the ball was crossed in from the right-hand side by Patrick McEleney, Deery found himself in space 12 yards out. Unfortunately for City, his header flew just wide of the top right-hand corner.
A notable trend in Deery’s first half performance was how well he linked up with Madden and McEleney who were responsible for much of Derry City’s productivity. 42% of Kevin Deery’s first half passes went to these two players.
Deery misplaced 7 out 31 first half passes, leaving him with an unremarkable passing average of 77.4%. In Deery’s defence however, many of those misplaced passes either came via crosses (3) or through playing high-risk forward passes. On the other hand, sometimes Deery’s passing wasn’t quite patient enough and Derry City as a whole were much too direct for large spells in the game, rarely working the ball across the midfield. This can probably be shown in that Kevin Deery only passed to Ruaidhri Higgins once in the first half!
Deery’s passing caused UCD more problems in the second half, as the Creggan man initiated several attacks and created a number of good opportunities for his teammates as Derry searched in vain for a goal. He was unafraid to mix creativity with industry, as he won 4/4 attempted tackles in this period.
He continued to be a threat from set-pieces, and on 54 minutes he popped up with another header, however this time it was straight at McGinley in the UCD goal.
On 57 minutes, Deery fizzed a terrific ball out to Stephen McLaughlin on the left-wing, with the attack resulting in a Derry City corner.
As the game wore on, Deery’s flashes of creativity became more frequent. After the hour mark, having won possession in midfield, he charged forward before finding space to shoot at McGinley from 25 yards.
Having won possession in midfield again on 73 minutes, Deery played a an incisive through ball to Farren who failed to get his shot away having held onto the ball for too long inside the box.
In the dying embers of the game, Deery once more played an excellent, first time through pass to David McDaid, but the young striker – who would have been presented with a clear scoring opportunity – failed to control the pass.
A Few Observations:
- As Derry chased a winner in the last 25 minutes, UCD opted to pin two strikers up against Derry’s two centre-backs at all times, meaning that Derry were always susceptible to the counter attack. Fortunately for the Candystripes, UCD failed to effectively utilise this scenario.
- Patterson was anonymous for large parts of tonight’s game, but with 15 minutes to go, changing to 4-2-3-1 I would have liked to have seen him stay on the pitch. Simply put, he’s Derry’s most clinical finisher and given a chance he’ll punish the opposition. That said, I questioned Devine’s substitutions once before and I was emphatically wrong. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
- Derry seem to lack a clear identity at the moment. To point any criticism at Declan Devine in this respect would be premature and harsh given the number of injuries Derry have had and that a number of players are still settling in. Nevertheless, it is often unknown what shape Derry will be adopting or who will be starting in key positions.
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