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It took a long time coming; six years to be exact but Shelbourne finally recorded a league win over Derry City and it was one they fully deserved.
Hotshot Philip Hughes was on target yet again making it three goals in three games as Shels maintained their fantastic unbeaten start to the season.
The striker’s goal came two minutes before half-time; Derry defender Stewart Greacan misjudged the ball and Hughes pounced with a fantastic shot that Derry keeper Ger Doherty could only parry into his own net.
Both teams had opportunities to take an early lead inside the opening ten minutes. David McDaid tested the reflexes of Shels’ keeper Dean Delany with just one minute gone on the clock while Conan Byrne came close for Shels; flashing his header just wide.
McDaid was a real threat and came close in the fourth minute but his low drive across the face of goal was cleared off the line by Andy Boyle. Down the other end Shelbourne had probably the best chance to open the scoring; Hughes broke down the wing and played in perfect low ball into box but Paddy Kavanagh just couldn’t connect.
The game died down a little after those chances but that allowed Shels to take control of proceedings. Kavanagh and Hughes in particular were real dangers and the Derry defence looked a little ragged at times when put under pressure.
Just before the break Shels got the goal their exertions deserved; Hughes grabbing his third goal of the season with a fantastic strike from the edge of the box.
Derry had two glorious opportunities to get back on level terms within three minutes of the resumption. First Pat McEleney’s well-struck free-kick appeared to hit the underside of the bar and go over the line before Shels defender Ian Ryan cleared the danger. It came out to Stephen McLaughlin but his effort was also scrambled away in a crowded box.
That was a let-off for Shels who started to exert their pressure on the game again. Kavanagh was unlucky on two occasions not to double his side’s advantage. In the 51st minute he went through on goal but blasted his effort wide when it was easier to score. Eight minute later he had another chance but this time he dragged his low drive his wide of the far post.
It was all Shels at this stage as they continued to dominate. Hughes could’ve grabbed his second of the game in the 61st minute; the striker got a head to Brendan McGill’s ball but directed his effort just wide.
Derry manager Declan Devine decided to ring the changes and brought on three substitutes in the space of five minutes. Although the home side were in the ascendancy there was always that chance that Derry could break down the field and create something out of nothing; that’s what happened in the 71st minute. Barry Molloy unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the box that smacked against the bar.
After having an extremely quiet night Rory Patterson should’ve levelled matters for the Candystripes in the 83rd minute; McLaughlin whipped in the cross but amazingly the striker blasted his effort wide when in a decent position.
As the clock ticked down Derry went looking for that equaliser that would keep their unbeaten start intact but Shels stood firm. The visitors’ misery was compounded right at the end when Patterson was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Gareth Matthews, Ian Ryan, Andy Boyle, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Conan Byrne (Anto Murphy '68), Glenn Cronin, Stephen Hurley, Brendan McGill (David Cassidy '78); Paddy Kavanagh; Philip Hughes (Philip Gorman '83).
Subs not used: Stephen Paisley, Brian Shorthall, Paul Skinner, Sean Byrne.
Bookings: C Byrne (63), Matthews (73).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Simon Madden, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney (Ryan McBride '70), Dermot McCaffrey; Stephen McLaughlin, Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Pat McEleney (Owen Morrision '70); Rory Patterson, David McDaid (Mark Farren '65).
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Eddie McCallion, Matthew Crossan, Barry McNamee.
Bookings: McLaughlin (80), Madden (84), Patterson (88).
Sendings Off: Patterson (90+3).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Philip Hughes (Shelbourne).