Derry City 3, Shamrock Rovers 0
KENNY SHIELS believes his Derry City squad are starting to click into gear after a stunning demolition of Shamrock Rovers at Brandywell tonight.
Derry blew away the Hoops in a blistering start to the game and first half goals from Ronan Curtis and Harry Monaghan gave them a comfortable cushion going into the break.
And the superb Rory Patterson blasted home from the penalty spot on 59 minutes to take his season’s tally to five goals from seven games as City went three points clear of Dundalk at the top of the table.
It was a real statement of intent from Derry but Shiels continues to play down his side’s title credentials. However, he did admit his side are starting to perform to his expectations after a fifth win in six games.
“I would love to get into a European spot but we have to step back and look at this realistically,” said Shiels.
I thought the performance was something near to what I’m trying to work towards. I think we’ve made a statement that we won’t be walked over.Kenny Shiels
“Not one person around this club think we have a chance of winning the league. We’re evidence of a team that’s working hard and we’ll see where it takes us. We’re not patting ourselves in the back and saying ‘we’re top of the league’. “The league table has not formulated properly yet. We’re only seven games in for heaven’s sake. It’s not time to talk about where we’re at in the league.
“We must be something like 12 points off bottom and we have to make sure we stay that distance off the bottom club.”
The Derry boss was delighted with the manner of the win and the workrate from the start.
“I thought the performance was something near to what I’m trying to work towards.
“I think we’ve made a statement that we won’t be walked over. Ourselves and Galway have probably been the surprise packages so far. In three or four weeks that might change.
“The best teams I have seen in the league so far have been St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers in terms of quality of play. We’re trying to get to that level where we move the ball quicker, are inventive, creative - all of those things that we were tonight. With a collective energy and also quality.”
The Candystripes began with real intent and from Keith Ward’s short corner kick to the edge of the box after just 60 seconds, Barry McNamee’s scuffed shot was cleared off the line at the back post by Gavin Brennan. Curtis’ follow-up shot was blocked by a last ditch tackle.
It was an early warning for Rovers but just 40 seconds later the ball was in the back of the net when the ball was taken off the foot of McNamee in the six yard box and Curtis reacted quickest to scramble the ball home for his second of the season.
Rovers were struggling to get out of their own half during a dominant spell for City and the Hoops found themselves two goals behind on 22 minutes.
McNamee’s inviting cross from the left wing former Hibs midfielder, Monaghan powered his header into the net from 10 yards.
Rory Patterson was holding the ball up superbly and he linked up with McNamee on the centre circle before attempting a cheeky lob from distance and Barry Murphy tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch.
Killian Brennan almost found Brandon Miele with an incisive throughball in a rare Rovers attack but Dean Jarvis slid in superbly to intercept.
Keith Ward tried his luck when he got the ball back from Patterson after starting off a quick Derry counter attack but his shot sailed wide of the far post as Derry ended the half firmly in the driving seat.
Clearly unhappy with his side’s first half defensive display, Pat Fenlon replaced David O’Connor with David Webster on the restart and Rovers started the second half with urgency.
Patterson was hauled down inside the Rovers area on 58 minutes by Max Blanchard and referee, David McKeon pointed to the spot.
Patterson stepped up and blasted the spotkick confidently into the net to take his season’s tally to five from seven games.
Ward played Patterson in behind the Rovers defence on 65 minutes but the striker dragged his first time strike past the far post as Murphy watched helplessly.
Derry closed the game out to good effect as Rovers finished the game having failed to register a single shot on target.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry (Patrick McClean, 90), Dean Jarvis: Aaron McEneff, Harry Monaghan; Ronan Curtis, Barry McNamee (Conor McDermott, 88), Keith Ward (Nathan Boyle 81); Rory Patterson; Subs Not Used - Shaun Patton, Jordan Allan, Gareth McFadden,Ryan Doherty.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, David O’Connor (David Webster h-t), Max Blanchard, Gavin Brennan., Patrick Cregg (Trevor Clarke 75); Brandon Miele, Michael Drennan, Gary McCabe, Killian Brennan; Danny North (Gareth McCafferty); Subs Not Used - Craig Hyland, Rob Cornwall, Richie Purdy, Stephen McPhail.
Referee: David McKeon (Dublin).