Derry City move clear at summit after victory over Shamrock Rovers

Derry's Ronan Curtis celebrates his opening goal.

Derry's Ronan Curtis celebrates his opening goal.

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Shamrock Rovers will hope to put Friday night’s heavy Brandywell defeat behind them, the ‘Hoops’ caught cold by a Derry City side which seemed to grow in confidence having got off to the perfect start.

In fact a goal after just one minutes and 38 seconds spurred the home lot into action, as Rovers struggled in the vital areas, rarely troubling the home defence.

The win sees Derry move three points clear on the summit of the Premier Division after stretching their unbeaten run to six matches.

Kenny Shiels’ side couldn’t have asked for a better start when breaking the deadlock before two minutes had elapsed.

Rovers’ defender, Gavin Brennan, cleared a Barry McNamee shot off his line, but back came Derry and when McNamee cruised into the danger area, the midfielder’s attempted shot was deflected into the path of Ronan Curtis and the winger tapped the ball home.

Derry then doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Curtis and McNamee combined on the left and when the latter delivered a telling cross into the penalty area, Harry Monaghan rose above the visiting defence to powerfully head the ball home from 10 yards.

In the 26th minute Murphy did well to pull off a good save when Rory Patterson produced a superb lob but the back-peddling keeper did well to touch the ball wide of his post at the expense of a corner.

However, Patterson did find the net in the 35th minute when sent clear by McNamee but that effort was ruled out for offside.

Derry went close again one minute before the break when a Keith Ward shot flashed narrowly wide of the Rovers upright after Patterson had played the winger in.

Following the change of ends, the Candystripes were not to be denied their hopes of leading the table and, in the 58th minute, they ended this game as a contest, when awarded a penalty.

Centre-back, Max Blanchard appeared to have held Patterson as the striker attempted to challenge for possession and referee, David McKeon immediately pointed to the spot.

Having dusted himself down, Patterson lashed the ball home much to the delight of the estimated home attendance of 3,500.

Now content to hit on the counter, Patterson broke clear again to hit the target but, for a second time on the night, his strike was ruled out for offside.

Derry City - Doherty; Vemmelund, McBride, Barry (McClean, 90), Jarvis; Ward (Boyle, 80), Monaghan, McEneff, Curtis; McNamee (McDermott, 87); Patterson.

Shamrock Rovers - Murphy; Madden, Blanchard, O’Connor (Webster, h/t), G. Brennan; K. Brennan, Drennan, McCabe, Cregg (Clarke, 74), Miele; McCabe; North (McCaffrey, 65).