The Candystripes fell to a first defeat of the season as the Dubliners netted twice inside six second half minutes to turn the match on its head. James Akintunde put City ahead on the half hour mark but Shane Farrell deservedly levelled the match on 68 minutes. Two minutes later Cameron McJannet headed Derry back in front but the goal was chalked off for offside, a decision Higgins described as 'a terrible decision'.
Shelbourne substitute Brian McManus went up the other end and fired in the winning goal from outside the box to halt Derry's nine match unbeaten run. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Higgins who was livid and claimed his side had a 'perfectly legitimate' goal ruled out.
"In a way I'm glad I didn't see it before I did my post match interviews because I was absolutely fuming when I watched it back," blasted Higgins, "There's no getting away from it. It was an absolutely shocking, shocking decision."
It's the second goal Derry had scratched off in recent weeks as Eoin Toal's header at UCD was ruled out for a Derry player interfering with play from an offside position. However, Higgins was adamant McJannet's goal was a 'massive error' from the officials.
"A similar one went against us against UCD but that one I kind of understood why they would've given it," continued Higgins, "This one against Shelbourne, if he (Jamie McGonigle) was offside or blocking the keeper's view I would half understand why they gave it. But not only was Jamie onside, Brendan Clarke was in full view of the ball so there is not one reason for the decision to be given.
"That goal would've put us 2-1 up and we would've had the momentum with the big crowd behind us so it's cost us. It's a massive, massive decision that's gone against us.
"I've watched it from different angles. I've watched it on TV. I watched it from the sidelines and from the other side of the pitch I've seen the incident. So three or four different angles and I can't for the life of me see what that was given for. I just can't understand how they came to that decision. It's incredibly frustrating.
"We've had a few of these big decisions go against us over the last year and we've just sucked it up but this one was a perfectly legitimate goal which has been taken off us and we've been punished for a terrible decision. It's a big error from the officials. It's hard to accept. Nothing can be done about it but ultimately its cost us points, perhaps three points as we would've had a good chance of seeing it out with 20 minutes or so to go."
Derry's lead at the league summit was cut to three points after the 2-1 loss with Shamrock Rovers closing the gap following a 1-0 win over St Pats at Tallaght. And while Higgins was disappointed his team's unbeaten run came to an abrupt end, he was reeling about yet another key decision to go against his charges.
"It was such a key moment in the game. I'm not annoyed about losing our first match or the unbeaten run we were on it's annoying and hard to take because there was absolutely no reason to disallow the goal."