Ogbene’s late strike earns Limerick point against Derry

Late Ogbene strike earns Limerick a hard fought point against Derry.

Chiedozie Ogbene was the Limerick FC hero as his close range finish rescued a point against Derry City at the Markets Field in a competitive 1-1 draw on Saturday evening.

Limerick started well but it was both goalkeepers that were the main talking points of the half as both produced fine saves to keep the tie scoreless.

Firstly Doherty showed his quality to deny Dean Clarke and his captain counterpart Shane Duggan in quick succession, and then it was the turn of Clarke who recovered quickly from denying Aaron McEneff’s stinging strike to claw the rebound away from Nathan Boyle’s foot.

Chances were at a premium as both teams tried to open the scoring. In the end a set piece would prove Limerick’s undoing as Aaron Barry was on the end of a well delivered Aaron McEneff corner.

Barry’s powerful header flew past Brendan Clarke and with just 11 minutes of normal time remaining it looked like maximum points would be going to the candy stripes.

Limerick threw the kitchen sink at Derry in the remaining minutes in search of an equaliser. As the rain bucketed down and with conditions deteriorating, Ogbene latched on to a delivery from close range to scramble the ball over the line.

Not the prettiest of goals, but enough to send the home crowd of over 1200 hundred into wild celebrations.

In what is expected to be Willie Boland’s last game as interim boss, his team started well and forced a save from Doherty inside three minutes as a corner was cleared back to Duggan whose cross was met by Rodrigo Tosi, the Brazilian turning and seeing his shot tipped over the bar by the Derry captain.

Soon after, a fine passing move from Derry ended with McEneff in space and he drove a fierce strike inches past the post, in the visitors’ first threat.

On the quarter-hour, Limerick were again denied by Doherty, who blocked Clarke’s shot away and then got up to push over Duggan’s follow-up.

Next up it was Brendan Clarke’s turn to deny Nathan Boyle as his goal bound effort was turned away by the leg of the Limerick goalkeeper on 25 minutes.

Clarke would thwart Boyle again minutes later as a defensive lapse gifted a chance to  Derry’s McEneff with his stinging effort being pushed away by Clarke who smartly got back up to palm the ball away at Boyle’s feet.

Just before the interval, Tosi saw a shot from just inside the box comfortably held by Doherty.

Clarke once more came to Limerick’s rescue as he denied McEneff ‘s effort after he had picked up space in a tight angle after a fine through-ball from Ronan Curtis.

Both teams were sluggish after the interval and indeed it took until 64 minutes for the first clear cut chance of the half. It fell to the home side as Duggan’s corner to the back post was met by Clarke who headed over.

Derry were starting to press forward and concerted pressure forced a succession of corners but a breakthrough was not forthcoming.

Instead,  Limerick were in on goal with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when a long ball went all the way through to Ogbene but he failed to control it which allowed Doherty to gather.

As the game swung back in forth, it looked like Barry’s 79th minute goal was going to be enough to claim maximum points for Derry.

But up stepped Ogbene to atone of his earlier miss. This time the speedy winger’s scrambled effort found the back of the next as Limerick earned a deserved point.

There result keeps the Superblues sitting comfortably in 6th position on 17 points and reasonably happy with their points haul to date.

Limerick: Brendan Clarke; Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead, Robbie Williams, Tommy Robson; Paul O’Conor (Bastien Héry 80), Shane Duggan ©; Chris Mulhall (John O’Flynn 80), Lee-J Lynch, Dean Clarke; Rodrigo Tosi (Chiedozie Ogbene 62). Goal: C Ogbene (90+3). Booked: P O’Conor (73). Unused Subs: Freddy Hall (GK), Ian Turner, Stephen Kenny, Barry Cotter.

Derry City: Ger Doherty ©; Conor McDermott, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Ronan Curtis, Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low, Harry Monaghan, Josh Daniels (Mark Timlin 66); Barry McNamee; Nathan Boyle (Mikhail Kennedy 66). Goal: A Barry (79). Unused Subs: Eric Grimes (GK), Rory Holden, Ben Doherty, Sam Todd, Scott Whiteside.

Referee: Seán Grant (Wexford). Attendance: 1,287.

Report Date: Saturday 13 May 2017

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Raffaele Rocca