Thursday, April 12, 2007


Derry City provided us with some of the most memorable moments of the 2006 campaign, and despite a change in the wheelhouse they have picked up where they left off. How reassuring it must be for Foyleside fanatics to hear that Pat was crap when he started at Linfield ; and then again at Shelbourne.

Are they privately comforting themselves that the same is probably true of Ola Timidman. Rarely has there been a more memorable debut. In a textbook replication of the halcyon era of Scottish goalkeeping both, Ola and PJ have rapidly unravelled a defensive unit that averaged .66 goals per game conceded in 2006.

Pat Fenlon has already doubled that average; a master stroke that must have politicians across the country apoplectic with envy. So what next for the Candystripes; a safe pair of hands?

In Nutsy they have such a thing; in goal they don't. OhNo Tidman is entitled to one more opportunity to redeem his unforgettable debut. It is clear that the manager is attempting to impose a different style of play onto his new charges; never the most earnestly gung-ho of tacticians, methinks the Derry fans will have to get used to a slower, cagier style from the Candystripes.

The addition of Peter Hynes also represents a new dimension to the current side; but nothing will be right until the defence regains that priceless sense of confidence in the man behind them. Whilst the new netminder was not directly at fault for Cork City's fourth goal last Monday; he was indirectly so.

When Ken Oman saw that ball dropping in his direction he had a decision to make. Last season the ball would have been headed comfortably into the realm of David Forde - a 'keeper who has risen immeasurably in my estimation since last Monday - but the realisation that there was a dodgy 'keeper behind him will have caused the minutest delay in that decision making process. In the meantime, before Oman had time to prepare himself for a clearing header, the ball was bouncing lazily off his Uncle Ned and into the orbit of a grateful Denis Behan.

His finish was exquisite. As the Great Wise One, Oso, often says, 'you will get punished at this level if you can't defend properly'. Nutsy must eradicate this problem immediately if not sooner, or else there will be a groundswell of support for Shelbourne's reinstatement to the Champions League.

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