Tolka Park witnessed a battle between two of the leagues mid-table inhabitants, both in the need of three points. It was the team from Derry that emerged victorious as they scored in both halves. This combined with a poor performance from Shelbourne meant they managed to emerge with a two-nil victory.
The Drumcondra side started with real intent. Barry Clancy had a free header which he put disappointingly over in the second minute. After this chance the game was played at a frenetic pace with neither team having a chance to settle on the ball.
Derry however fashioned a chance during this scrappy period and it was good enough to take the lead after just eight minutes. Stephen McLaughlin’s cross was dispatched to the net by David McDaid, with both players having too much space. Derry City seemed dangerous, particularly down the left wing, and on 15 minutes there were almost in again. McLaughlin ghosted past Matthews and crossed into the box, however, the goal-scorer David McDaid could not get his effort on target this time.
Derry tested Dean Delaney in the Shels goal on 24 minutes as they continued to create chances. Ryan McBride powered a header from a corner goalwards, but it was straight at Delaney. Shels rarely threatened the Candystripes goal but Barry Clancy did have a chance in the 28th minute from a Paddy Kavanagh corner. The cross found Barry Clancy at the back post but he couldn’t direct his effort on target. A Philly Hughes effort with three minutes left in the first half was Shels only other chance of significance. It was blocked away for a corner and was the last chance of the half.
Shelbourne needed to wrestle back momentum at the start of the second half and in the opening exchanges they certainly gained the majority of possession as Derry seemed happy to defend their lead.
Despite the bright start from the Reds, it was Derry who struck again on 56 minutes. A cross from Simon Madden on the right fell to Stephen McLaughlin. He caught the ball on the volley but it was straight at Delaney. Somehow the Shelbourne goalkeeper managed to let the ball squirm through his grasp and Derry had a two goal lead. The three points looked to be heading North but the Reds attempted to get back into the game. Glen Cronin had a shot blocked down on the edge of the box on 61 minutes as the vital goal that could have been Shels life-line eluded them.
City continued to be dangerous and on 70 minutes a David McDaid shot from the edge of the box brought a save from Delaney.
Shels continued to push forward but they were having a frustrating night as Derry’s defence stood firm and they found it hard to create any clear cut chances. Philly Hughes' booking on 82 minutes for dissent was a clear example of the Shelbourne player’s frustrations. A couple of seconds later and another lapse of concentration in the home defence gave Derry another chance. Substitute Ryan Curran’s long-range shot brought another safe from Delaney.
The home fans had seen enough as a sizeable number started to head towards the exits. The supporters that stayed let their feelings be known as a chorus of boos greeted the final whistle. For Derry City it was a valuable and deserved three points.
This victory for the Candystripe’s cements their hold on 5th place. Shelbourne had a disappointing night and didn’t deserve to take anything away from this game. They had too many misplaced passes and came up against a hungrier and more disciplined team.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Gareth Matthews (Stephen Paisley, 32), Andy Boyle, Brian Shortall, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Paddy Kavanagh (Anto Murphy, 66), David Cassidy, Glenn Cronin, Kevin Dawson, Barry Clancy (Conan Byrne, 58); Philip Hughes.
Subs not used: Paul Skinner (GK), Stephen Hurley, Sean Byrne, Paul Byrne.
Bookings: Shortall (21), Kavanagh (52), Cronin (71), Hughes (82).
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Barry McNamee; Marc Brolly (Ryan Curran, 81), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin (Patrick McEleney, 58); David McDaid, Conor Murphy.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry (GK), Tony McNamee, Caoimhin Bonner, Michael Duffy, Matthew Rooney.
Bookings: B McNamee (47), Brolly (79).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Extratime.ie man of the match: Stephen McLaughlin (Derry City).