BY CHRIS MCNULTY
BARRY McNamee netted his first European goal on Thursday night as Derry City romped to a four-nil win over Welsh minnows Aberystwyth Town at the Brandywell.
The 22-year-old Ramelton man scored the fourth in the 86th minute as City cruised to a win that, barring a collapse in Thursday’s second leg, sets Peter Hutton’s side up for a Europa League second qualifying round meeting with Shakhtyor Salihorsk of Belarus.
McNamee played last summer as Derry fell against Turkish opposition Trabzonspor, but a cool side-footed finish against Aberystwyth tees the Candystripes up for another European tie.
The goal was his third in four games having netted in the FAI Cup win at Cobh and the 2-2 draw with Dundalk in the League last week.
“It’s three in four and it should be four in four – I missed a sitter against Sligo! It’s good to be in the goals again so hopefully I can keep it up now,” he said.
“It’s nice to get the goal but the most important thing is getting a good win behind us.
“We set out to win the game and keep a clean sheet so it’s been a great one. We’d have taken one or two-nil going out there to give us something to defend. Four-nil’s a great result.
“It leaves us in a good position heading into the next game. We could have had more. we slacked off a bit late on, but we missed some great chances. We can’t really complain though.”
Patrick McEleney scored a delicious opener and Rory Patterson netted a penalty after he was was felled by Michael Lewis, the goalkeeper, as he skipped past.
The Aberystwyth ‘keeper was red carded by the Danish referee Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen and replacement goalkeeper Philip Draper’s first duty was to collect the ball from the back of his net as Patterson made no mistake from the spot.
McNamee said: The sending off helped us dominate the game. We were in their faces from the start, we didn’t give them any time on the ball and we squeezed them right up.”
Buncrana native Mark Timlin scored his first Derry goal early in the second half from 30 yards, while McNamee tucked home the fourth on a night when Derry scored a record European win for them as a League of Ireland club.
The Ramelton man said: “I was in that position on the edge or just inside the box a lot during the game, but I didn’t get much coming out. Aaron (Barry) cut it back, Philip Lowry gave it a wee dummy, I took a touch and put it in.”
Ian Hughes’s Aberystwyth, seventh in the Welsh PremierLeague last season, were out of their depth and Derry are set for a €130,000 windfall from UEFA – to go alongside an initial €120,000 for qualifying into the competition – for advancing. McNamee insists that the Candystripes can’t let their guard drop.
He said: “We’ve to go over there and be as professional as we can be. We need to keep it tight again and give nothing away. We have to go and do the job again.”
Derry take on Aberystwyth in the second leg at Park Avenue on Thursday, but, first, have a League encounter against Athlone on Sunday.