Daniel Lafferty 52' -
A Daniel Lafferty free kick, fumbled into his own net by Alan Mannus proved to be the difference between Derry City and Shamrock Rovers in a thoroughly entertaining game in front of a big crowd at the Brandywell on Friday night.
Derry City brought back Barry Molloy into the engine room after injury and gave a start to Ryan McBride at centre half with Shane McEleney moving across to right back. Rovers went with the same side that had defeated St Pats on Sunday.
The first half took a while to get going but when it did, Stephen Kenny’s men were creating most of the openings. In the 16th minute the impressive James McClean swung in a cross which Eamon Zayed managed to glance just over the bar. On 23 minutes a high ball into the centre of Rovers defence deceived Ken Oman and the ball was crossed in to Stephen McLaughlin who somehow managed to put the ball over with Alan Mannus stranded in no mans’ land.
At the other end, in the 28th minute, Gary Twigg found himself clean through only to be denied by a superb save from Gerard Doherty. As the half progressed, Derry were getting more dominant and should have opened the scoring in the 39th minute when Mannus saved point blank twice from Eamon Zayed.
Rovers were still dangerous on the break though and when Billy Dennehy beat Shane McEleney and crossed, Ciaran Kilduff should have done better than put the ball over the bar. As the half drew to its conclusion, Derry felt they had a penalty when Oman appeared to handle in the area but Damien Hancock wasn’t convinced and they went back to the dressing room at half time all square.
The second half began much as the first ended with Derry doing most of the pressing and in the 52nd minute the deadlock was broken. Derry got a free kick 25 yards out and Daniel Lafferty curled it round the wall only for Alan Mannus to fumble it into his own net. Although it was well hit, the Northern Ireland international should have done a lot better.
The goal proved to be the catalyst for some great end to end stuff and in the 60th minute, the introduction of Chris Turner and Dean Kelly brought a new zest to the Rovers’ midfield. At this point Rovers were pressing and Kelly crossed for Gary Twigg who saw his effort go just over.
Two great saves from Gerard Doherty and a great stop by Mannus from a McClean thunderbolt were next as Rovers started pressing heavily while Derry attempted to catch them on the break. The last 10 minutes saw Rovers laying siege to Derrys’ rearguard only to be rebuffed time and again by the excellent McBride, Greacen and Doherty. By the time the full time whistle went Derry were holding on.
It was a great game of football to watch with the two sides playing exciting attacking football and overall Derry deserved their victory which brought them to second place in the table, only a point behind the defeated visitors.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Daniel Lafferty, Ryan McBride, Stewart Greacen Shane McEleney; James McClean, Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry Molloy(c), Stephen McLaughlin; Patrick McEleney (Ruairi Harkin 71), Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Emmett Friars, Michael McCrudden, James Henry, David McDaid, Thomas McMonagle.
Bookings: S McEleney (73), Lafferty (81), McLaughlin (92).
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Pat Sullivan, Craig Sives, Enda Stevens, Ken Oman; Stephen Rice (c) (Chris Turner 60), Ronan Finn, Billy Dennehy, Gary McCabe (Dean Kelly 60); Gary Twigg, Ciaran Kilduff (Stephen O’Donnell 71).
Subs not used: Sean Gannon, Dan Murray, Gary O’Neill, Ryan Thompson.
Bookings: Oman (59), Sullivan (65), O'Donnell (80), Turner (81).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ryan McBride (Derry City).