Premier Division: Derry defeated by Longford in opener

Longford's Adam Bolger tussles for the ball with Derry defender Daniel Lafferty
Longford's Adam Bolger tussles for the ball with Derry defender Daniel Lafferty

Derry City make a losing start to their Premier Division campaign after going down 2-0 to newly promoted Longford Town at Bishopsgate.

It was deserved win for the Midlands hosts with Dylan Grimes firing Longford in front after eight minutes.

Derry were sluggish and rarely threatened although Eoin Toal saw his header cleared off the line.

Joe Gorman slammed home to make it 2-0 on 72 minutes after Nathan Gartside failed to hold a free-kick.

Derry only secured Premier Division survival on the final day of last season and there were few positives from a game where they started as strong favourites.

Grimes bent a 25-yard effort wide before shooting across Gartside and inside the post for an early opener.

One-sided start

The midfielder also sent a free-kick wide as the top-flight newboys dominated and the Candystripes rarely ventured beyond their own half.

The visitors finally gained a foothold midway through the first half with Toal seeing a header deflected wide and his next effort cleared off the line.

Joe Gorman celebrates making it 2-0 to Longford against Derry
Joe Gorman celebrates making it 2-0 to Longford against Derry

Lee Steacy kept out a powerful strike from David Parkhouse on the stroke of half-time but Derry came out of the blocks slowly on the restart.

Gartside saved Dean Byrne's shot and Dean Zambra blasted over the rebound as De Town pressed for a second goal.

As with the first half, Derry came into the game and Toal headed wide from Will Patching's free-kick before City's appeals for a penalty were turned down after a challenge on Jack Malone.

Gartside was at fault as Longford doubled their advantage - unable to collect from Aodb Dervin's free-kick and Gorman was perfectly placed to hit the net via the crossbar.

Dervin rifled a 35-yard free-kick off the Candystripes woodwork seconds later as Longford eased to the three points.

What they said

Derry manager Declan Devine: "It was poor - I thought before the game we were in a good place but when you start a League of Ireland game without any real aggression and intensity it's going to cost you.

"We made a sluggish start and I don't know if people thought we just had to turn up to win but that's not the way we are.

"We've got to play with more aggression, quality and intensity, but we'll suck it up and move on."

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