United make daunting trip up north

Galway United travel to second-placed Derry City tomorrow night, keen to recreate the magic of their last trip to the Brandywell.

They may face a stiffer test this time. After a patchy start to the season, Ruaidhri Higgins’s side could go top if results went their way tomorrow. They have lost just once in their last ten, picking up 19 points in the process.

The Candystripes were emphatic on Monday, dispatching Waterford with ease. They ended the contest within thirty minutes with goals from Michael Duffy, Mark Connolly and Patrick Hoban.

The goal from the Loughrea sharpshooter (Hoban ) ended a run of six without a goal. It pushed him back to the top of the scoring charts, a familiar position for him throughout an illustrious League of Ireland campaign.

United come into the contest off the back of their own first defeat in ten. There was no shame in the performance or result in Inchicore, as the side succumbed to a late Alex Nolan goal. Nonetheless, St. Pat’s have struggled under Stephen Kenny’s watch and there will be some regret in the camp about the failure to inflict more misery on a side that still sit below United in the table.

Yet even halfway through the season, table positions are of limited value as only five points separate fourth from eighth. Moreover, John Caulfield’s men have played three fewer games than St. Pat’s and still retain a four-point cushion over them.

Of more concern will have been the performance levels as United take on another big task up north. Despite defeat, Caulfield's men were bright in the Dublin sunshine last Friday.

David Hurley was close in the first quarter and Stephen Walsh could have finished a fantastic flowing move were it not for the intervention of Conor Keeley.

There will have been some disappointment at the concession of the first goal from a set-piece, Mason Melia turning in after a couple of headers were won by Pat’s players.

Lomboto drew the sides level in the 70th minute, having already come close upon his introduction. A short free-kick from Conor McCormack released Al-Amin Kazeem. His cross was met emphatically by Patrick Hickey whose header was diverted in by the striker for his first of the season.

Rob Slevin and Lomboto had chances to snatch it as the game winded down. However, some individual magic from Kian Leavy to tee up Alex Nolan in the box set up a late winner for the home side. As ever, United didn’t give up the fight and Hickey had a header come back off the bar in injury time.

As such, there will be no panic within the ranks and the focus will be on arriving at the mid-season break in a strong position. A result in Derry would go a long way to achieving that. However, it is likely to be the result at home to Drogheda next Thursday that will determine the mood for the fortnight off.


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