Michael Duffy's stunning strike moves Derry City back into second spot

Derry City 1 Bohemians 0

MICHAEL Duffy's spectacular first half strike against Bohemians moved Derry City to within a single point of league leaders Shamrock Rovers with seven games to go.

The winger curled a right footed strike into the top corner of the net on 39 minutes to breathe new life into the Premier Division title race.

It was far from a comfortable night on Foyleside for the home side with Brian Maher producing a stunning save from Ethon Varian but the result sent the Candystripes marching into second spot, back above Dundalk who fell to a shock defeat to bottom club UCD at the Belfield.

Rovers, who play Finn Harps at Tallaght on Sunday, have two games on hand over their nearest rivals, but will no doubt be looking nervously over their shoulders as Derry stretched their unbeaten run to 13.

The Brandywell clash was the only football fixture to be played in the north this weekend as the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) postponed all league matches as a mark of respect following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

It was a slow burner for neutral fans tuning into the live RTE coverage for their weekend football fix with Derry fashioning the best of the limited chances in the early stages.

Ryan Graydon found space on the right wing before cutting it back into the path of Patrick McEleney on the edge of the Bosh penalty area. The City skipper slotted into the path of Akintunde but his touch was heavy and Bohs were able to clear the danger.

Derry City winger Michael Duffy celebrates in front of the home support in the Southend Park Stand after his terrific strike gave the Candy Stripes the lead against Bohemians. Photo by Kevin Moore.

There was a delay in play after seven minutes after Derry defender Ciaran Coll fell awkwardly after contesting a high ball with Ali Coote.

Coll received treatment on the pitch and after a 14 minutes stoppage as Coll received treatment on the pitch, the player was stretchered off and transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital by ambulance. The play resumed with Shane McEleney replacing the City defender and McJannet shifted to left-back.

The lengthy stoppage disrupted the flow of the match with both teams struggling to get into their stride.

It needed a bit of magic to spark the match into life and Duffy provided it with a stunning strike with the inside of his right foot on 39 minutes to give Derry the lead.

Derry City defender Ciaran Coll is treated on the pitch after falling awkwardly during the first half against Bohs.

Bohs failed to clear from a corner and when Shane McEleney cut the ball back towards the edge of the penalty area where Duffy was lurking, the winger hit it first time and guided the ball off the inside of the far post before nestling into the net.

It was a spectacular strike and Duffy's second goal in successive league matches as he returns to top form after recovering from a broken leg sustained last March.

With 14 minutes of added time at the end of the first half Ronan Boyce, who scored when the teams last met at Dalymount Park, almost added a second with four of those additional minutes remaining but headed over the bar from close range from a corner kick.

Bohs really should've been back on terms six minutes into the second half when Coote delivered dangerously towards the back post from a corner kick and Feely peeled off his man but headed over the bar.

At the other end Patrick McEleney went on a jinking run which took him away from three Bohs defenders before bearing down on goal and his strike stung the hands of Jon McCracken who gathered at the second attempt.

Derry were beginning to slip through the gears and when Graydon got past Tyreke Wilson on the right flank, he cut back towards the six yards box where Feely produced a superb sliding interception to deby Akintunde a certain goal.

Akintunde then turned provider when he crossed dangerously across the face of goal and Duffy was agonisingly close to tapping into the net at the back post.

For all of Derry's dominance, the home side needed Ireland U21 international keeper Brian Maher to keep their narrow lead intact on 62 minutes. Liam Burt's throughball sliced open the Derry defence and found Ethon Varian in space 12 yards from goal but his low strike was saved superbly by the outstretched leg of Maher.

Shane McEleney was penalised for a foul right on the edge of the penalty box and substitute John O'Sullivan played the free-kick short to Wilson who drilled into the side netting from a tight angle.

Burt caused havoc in the Derry defence as he ran unopposed towards the near post and clipped the ball towards the backpost where Varian was waiting to pounce but Boyce did well to intercept.

Graydon forced a save from McCracken with a powerful effort with his right foot 25 yards from goal as Derry tried to seal the win with five minutes remaining.

In stoppage time McEleney found the run of McGonigle with a 60 yard crossfield pass and the striker, searching for his first league goal since May 23rd, fired towards the far corner and it deflected just wide of the post for a corner.

Bohs forced a corner kick in the final minute of the four added on and despite the presence of goalkeeper McCracken who came up to add an extra attacking threat, Derry managed to clear and the Brandywell men clinched a precious victory.

Derry City: Maher; Boyce , Connolly, McJannet (Lafferty 83), Coll (S. McEleney 21); Graydon, Dummigan, Diallo (Patching 77), Duffy; P. McEleney; J. Akintunde (McGonigle 72): Subs Not Used - Lemoignan, Thomson, B. Kavanagh, McEneff, C. Kavanagh.

Bohemians: McCracken; Wilson, Feely, Kelly, Doherty (Murphy 68), Coote (O'Sullivan 62), Burt (Mullins 89), Levingston (McManus 89), Clarke, Varian, Twardek (McDaid 45+15); Subs Not Used - Ryan, Kerr, Burke, Okosun.

Referee - Neil Doyle (Dublin).