Date: 7:45 p.m. May 22, 2009
Venue: The Brandywell
The teams matched each other almost exactly having created, and spurned, and thwarted the same number of chances throughout. Tam McManus had a header cleared off the line by Rovers’ Stephen Bradley in the 15th minute and he also put one just passed the post for Derry after a lovely, accurate cross from Kevin Deery not long after. At the other end, Sean O’Connor drilled one just wide for the Rovers and Padraig Amond forced a fine save from custodian Gerard Doherty.
In the second half, both sides were left cursing their luck as first Padraig Amond squandered a one-on-one and then Mark Farren did the same at the other end.
City centre back, Stephen Gray has goalkeeper Ger Doherty to thank for sparing his blushes after a mistake led to Amond’s break through. The minder was on top form all night and spread himself well to block the powerful shot however he’ll have been relieved to see the ball trickle wide after a bit of pinball in the box.
Mark Farren has been in good scoring form recently and the home faithful were left wondering how he missed a golden chance on 79 minutes. Thomas Stewart rose above the Hoop’s defence for once to nod on a high ball for Farren, the little striker running through shrugged off the attention of Aidan Price but inexplicably blasted the ball just agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
The only other opportunity of note fell to David Scullion shortly after he joined the fray. Thomas Stewart found the winger with a deft cross sitting just on the edge of the six yard box, his delicate glancing header forced the save of the game from Barry Murphy as he leapt full stretch to re-direct it around the upright.
Neither side could complain as the final whistle declared a share of the spoils which represented possibly a fair summation of the game. Derry remain third in the league ahead of Rovers only on goal difference. Both Cork and Bohs put a bit of daylight between them and the chasing pack with wins against Bray and Drogheda respectively.
Man of the match: “Near side Linesman” – missed many of the big decisions and felt mostly out of his depth but was on hand to hold up play importantly when he got confused by a green and white shirt off the pitch opposite him.
Ger Doherty (Derry): Pulled off a handful of important saves to keep Derry in the game and remained alert to danger.
Derry City: Doherty; McCallion, Gray, Hutton, McClean (O'Brien, 67); Deery, Higgins, Martyn (Scullion, 78), Stewart; McManus (Kearney 67), Farren.
Shamrock Rovers: Murphy; Flynn, Maguire, Price, Cahill; Bradley, Cameron, Rice, O'Connor; Twigg, Amond (Baker, 71).