Derry City 2, Limerick 1
FORMER Hearts striker, Ally Roy netted a clinical winning goal on his Derry City debut to complete an impressive comeback against a battling Limerick outfit at Brandywell Stadium.
The Scotsman, who was on loan at Sligo Rovers during the first half of the season, led the line on his first appearance for the club and his strike 30 seconds into the second half proved the difference as City returned to winning ways.
Limerick's Connor Ellis opened the scoring on 35 minutes with a blistering shot from close range having earlier hit the outside of the post as the visitors raced out of the blocks.
However, parity was quickly restored by another Derry City debutante as ex-Kilmarnock midfielder, Aaron Splaine announced his arrival with a terrific goal two minutes later.
And City completed the turnaround at the start of the second half when Roy showed a poacher's instinct to finish well and ensure the Candystripes moved to within a single point of fourth placed Shamrock Rovers who were held at Cork.
Kenny Shiels had fielded three new signings in total with former Southhampton and Exeter defender, Dan Seaborne joining Roy and Splaine in the starting XI while Canadian, Ben Fisk was handed his home debut.
Limerick boss, Tommy Barrett made two changes which defeated Bray Wanderers last week with Brendan Clarke and Shaun Kelly replaced by Tommy Holland and Killian Brouder.
Limerick began on the frontfoot and came so close to finding the net with just 50 seconds on the clock as Ellis burst down the left wing and got beyond Seaborne before striking the outside of the near post as the ball went behind for a goal kick.
Derry hit back and almost capitalised from an Aaron McEneff corner but Splaine's downward header was hooked off the line.
McEneff then sent Fisk free down the left side of the Limerick box and the winger took a deft touch to take it past his man but his shot at the near post was deflected behind for a corner.
Fisk ran at the Limerick defence before finding the run of McEneff with a superb pass but the midfielder took a touch before his shot was saved by the out-rushing Holland on 13 minutes.
Jamie McDonagh whipped in a dangerous cross towards the six yard box but Rory Hale couldn't apply the finish and blasted his effort high over the bar on five minutes later as Derry began to get control of proceedings.
However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 35 minutes as the impressive William Fitzgerald fizzed in a cross from the left flank and Ellis found the top corner with a terrific strike from 10 yards.
It wasn't long before Derry were back in the game. In fact less than two minutes later Limerick failed to clear their lines and it fell to Splaine who sent a blistering shot into the Limerick net from 20 yards to level matters.
Thirty seconds into the second half McEneff crossed low towards Roy and the former Sligo man rifled his shot into the net with his left foot to give the Candystripes the lead for the first time in the game.
City stepped it up a gear and McDonagh raced into space at the heart of the Limerick defence before driving a powerful shot just wide of the far post.
Splaine tried his luck from distance on the hour mark but his well hit shot on the half volley dipped narrowly over the Limerick goal.
Limerick were almost gifted a way back into the game when Gerard Doherty played his goalkick shot to Splaine who was dispossessed by Barry Maguire on the edge of the City penalty area but he wasted a glorious chance by shooting harmlessly over,
At the other end Roy could've added a second but headed over the bar from McDonagh's inviting cross while Splaine sent a promising free-kick from 25 yards wide of the mark.
Rory Hale was unfortunate not to add a third for City on 72 minutes when his right footed strike from the edge of the penalty area struck the inside of the post with Holland beaten but it somehow managed to bounce across the goalmouth and out of play.
Substitute Rory Patterson almost caught Limerick keeper, Holland napping with an ambitious lobbed effort from 40 yards but it sailed just over the target as full-time approached.
However, Limerick were denied an equaliser in stoppage time as Doherty produced an outstanding save at full stretch to deny Maguire's curling effort.
McDonagh then dragged his shot wide from a promising position but it mattered little as the home lot secured victory.
Derry City: G. Doherty: D. Cole, G. Peers, D. Seaborne, B. Doherty; J. McDonagh, R. Hale, A. Splaine, B. Fisk; A. McEneff; A. Roy (R. Patterson 78); Subs Not Used - E. Grimes, C. McDermott, E. Toal, C. Farren, R. Hale, A. Delap.
Limerick: T. Holland; K. Cantwell, K. Brouder, E. Wearen, B. Dennehy; K. O'Sullivan, S. Duggan (D. Murphy 73), C. Coleman, W. Fitzgerald; B. Maguire; C. Ellis (D. Morrissey 69); Subs Not Used - J. Brady, S. Tracy, T. O'Connor, A. Foley, G. Barry.
Referee - Derek Tomney.