Derry City extend unbeaten run after battling draw with Shamrock Rovers
Derry City 0, Shamrock Rovers 0
THERE WAS no revenge for Derry City at Brandywell but Kenny Shiels will be delighted to celebrate his birthday with a well earned point against Shamrock Rovers as the unbeaten run continues.
It was a pulsating match against a Rovers team determined to get back on the winning trail and the Dubliners dominated the scoring chances with Graham Burke striking the crossbar early in the second half while Gerard Doherty saved brilliantly at close quarters from Dan Carr.
Aaron Bolger should've hit the target when played clean through on goal on 58 minutes while substitute, Brandon Miele volleyed inches wide of the post in the final minute of the match,
Derry boss, Shiels will point to the nasty head injury sustained to Ronan Curtis as the incident which changed the game in Rovers' favour as the striker had to be substituted following a clash with Ethan Boyle on 20 minutes.
City failed to test Rovers keeper, Kevin Horgan throughout the 90 minutes but the Candy Stripes dug deep to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions as they remain five points clear of Rovers in fourth place. And third placed, Waterford failed to take advantage as they were held at home to Sligo Rovers.
"We have to take the point and move on," said Shiels. "The boys weren't themselves tonight. We could've lost the game and we could've won the game as well. Shamrock Rovers are a very good team as you could see in the quality of their play.
"We couldn't get the quality we normally have. It wasn't as fluid as we normally can be. I'm disappointed, not because we didn't win but because we didn't perform."
The Foylesiders were boosted by the return of experienced striker, Rory Patterson and right-back, Conor McDermott who both sat out the 2-2 draw with Dundalk last weekend. John Cofie and the suspended Gavin Peers made way.
Joey O'Brien was the only survivor from the Rovers team which suffered a shock exit from the EA Sports Cup to Longford midweek but it was back to a full strength starting XI for the wounded Hoops.
Rovers were quick out of the blocks and top scorer, Graham Burke's deflected shot was safely gathered by Gerard Doherty with four minutes on the clock.
Derry finally settled into the game and on seven minutes Nicky Low tried his luck from 25 yards but dragged his shot harmlessly wide of the target.
Three minutes later Jamie McDonagh did well to race past Lee Grace and delivered dangerously into the six yard box where Patterson guided his shot the wrong side of the post.
Derry down to 10 men and under sustained pressure for five minutes as Curtis received several stitches in his head pitchside following a clash with Rovers right back, Ethan Boyle but the visitors failed to capitalise.
Rovers had a glorious chance to take the lead four minutes before the break when Sean Kavanagh's free-kick was met by the head of Roberto Lopes who somehow managed to send his effort over the bar.
Graham Burke found himself in behind the last City defender on 45 minutes but hit his strike with the outside of his left boot sailed wide with just the keeper to beat.
It was a pulsating match but while Rovers had the best two chances of the half neither goalkeeper was troubled throughout.
The Dubliners dominated after the break and six minutes into the second half, Dan Carr got away from Darren Cole and Doherty did brilliantly to direct his close range shot away from goal with his right hand.
Aaron Bolger nipped in front of Eoin Toal and raced clean through on goal but the Rovers midfielder sent his shot across goal and wide on 58 minutes.
Boyle did well to cut his pass into the path of Burke on 68 minutes and the striker rattled the underside of the crossbar. From the rebound Kavanagh's low strike was desperately cleared by the City defence at the second attempt.
Carr was gifted a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock on 78 minutes when he latched onto the ball 16 yards from the Derry goal but pulled his shot wide.
Substitute Brandon Miele came so close to winning the match in the final minute when his volley from the edge of the penalty area went agonisingly wide of the post.
Derry City: G. Doherty; C. McDermott, E. Toal, D. Cole, J. Doyle; J. McDonagh (N. Boyle 66), N. Low, R. Hale, R. Curtis (B. Doherty 31); A. McEneff; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - E. Grime, J. Cofie, C. Farren, S. Whiteside, N. Logue.
Shamrock Rovers: K. Horgan; E. Boyle, J. O'Brien, R. Lopes, L. Grace; G. Burke (B. Miele 85), G. Bolger, A. Bolger, S. Kavanagh; R. Finn (D. McAllister 88); D. Carr (G. Shaw 90); Subs Not Used - T. Chencinski, L. Byrne, A. Gilchrist, S. Bone.
Referee - Derek Tomney.