Aaron Greene nets winner as Shamrock Rovers end Derry City's winning run
Derry City 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
AARON Greene's 43rd minute goal proved the difference against Derry City as Shamrock Rovers made it eight league wins on the bounce at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
The victory ensured the Hoops maintained their eight point advantage on the summit of the SSE Airtricity League table while City dropped to fourth as their five match winning streak ended.
It was Greene's third goal of the season but his first since the 3-0 win over Finn Harps on March 4th and it was the 100th league strike for Rovers against Derry.
Rovers came into the game unbeaten in their last five matches against the Candy Stripes and they needed to dig deep in the end to clinch an important win over Declan Devine's team who came into the game in second spot.
Devine made just two changes from the team which clinched victory over St Pat's in Inchicore with skipper, Barry McNamee and Eoin Toal returning at the expense of Josh Kerr and Gerardo Bruna who dropped to the bench.
Rovers boss, Stephen Bradley meanwhile, kept faith with the team which clinched a 2-1 win over Waterford in their last outing.
There was a minutes' silence impeccably observed for the late writer and journalist Lrya McKee who was shot dead during rioting in Creggan on Thursday night.
It was the 50th league meeting between the teams a lively opening to the match and the home lost fashioned the first chance on three minutes from a McNamee free-kick but Sloggett's header at the back post was saved comfortably by Alan Mannus.
Rovers were enjoying plenty of the ball and from an excellent Ronan Finn crossfield pass, Aaron Greene found Byrne in space but his curling effort was blazed high over the bar.
Eoghan Stokes flashed a free-kick from 25 yards across goal and harmlessly wide of the Rovers net on 11 minutes.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe curled a decent effort narrowly over the crossbar three minutes later after Parkhouse dispossessed Sean Kavanagh deep inside the Rovers half.
Rovers came closest on 17 minutes as Byrne swung in a dangerous free-kick from the right side of the Derry penalty area and Lee Grace's powerful header went just wide of the target.
Stokes found himself in space 20 yards from goal but he'll be disappointed his drilled effort didn't trouble the Rovers keeper during a promising spell for the Candy Stripes.
McNamee found Parkhouse with a beautifully time back heel inside the Rovers penalty area and when the striker sent his cross towards the six yards box, Junior was inches away from getting that vital touch.
Almost immediately Rovers hit on the counter as Toal mistimed his tackle and Greene raced clean through on goal before slotting into the bottom corner to give the Hoops the advantage two minutes before the break.
Junior set Parkhouse free inside the penalty area with a neat pass but the striker's low shot from a narrow angle was saved at the second attempt at his near post by Mannus 10 minutes into the second half.
The ball broke kindly to Ronan Finn 30 yards from goal and his well struck effort went narrowly over the City goal on 75 minutes in a rare second half attack from Rovers.
McClean's low cross found its way to Junior who blasted over from 12 yards in what was a promising chance for the Candy Stripes who were applying constant pressure.
McDermott replaced Harkin as Devine opted for two up front for the final 14 minutes of the match.
In stoppage time Rovers broke quickly and sub, Joel Coustrain's strike at the near post was parried behind by Cherrie.
Rovers ran down the clock to ensure a vital win in the race for the title.
Derry City: P. Cherrie: D. Cole, E. Toal, A. Gilchrist, P. McClean; J. Ogedi-Uzokwe, G. Sloggett, C. Harkin (C. McDermott 76), E. Stokes (G. Bruna 58); B. McNamee; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. Coll, E. Tweed, S. McNamee, J. Kerr.
Shamrock Rovers: A. Mannus; J. O'Brien , L. Grace, R. Lopes, T. Clarke (D. Carr 66); J. Byrne (J. Coustrain 88), D. Watts, A. McEneff, S. Kavanagh; R. Finn (O. Vojic 82); A. Greene; Subs Not Used - L. Pohls, J. Walter Furlong, D. Dillon, B. Kavanagh.
Referee - Derek Tomney.