Shamrock Rovers battle back at the Brandywell to go six clear

Stephen Bradley’s side scored twice in seven minutes to beat Derry City and extend lead

Shamrock Rovers’ Roberto Lopes celebrates after the game with Joey O’Brien. Photograph: Inpho

Shamrock Rovers’ Roberto Lopes celebrates after the game with Joey O’Brien. Photograph: Inpho

 

Derry City 1 Shamrock Rovers 2

Shamrock Rovers extended their lead at the Premier Division summit to six points following a never say die performance and win over Derry City at the Brandywell.

Stephen Bradley’s side certainly didn’t have it all their own way, the Rovers boss was forced to use his wealth of riches on the bench to fashion two goals within the space of seven second half minutes. Derry had led from the 36th minute.

With Ireland boss Stephen Kenny watching from the Mark Farren Stand, Declan Devine’s Derry team refused to allow Rovers to intimidate them or let the league leaders settle into their passing rhythm.

The home side then stunned Rovers when breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute following a break from defence. Joe Thomson fed the ball to Walter Figueira and the winger’s attempted cross caught the visiting defence out. The ball curled low into the net via the back post giving goalkeeper Alan Mannus no chance.

Rovers went close to equalising in the 57th minute but substitute Neil Farrugia failed to take advantage of Jack Byrne’s incisive pass, slicing his shot wide of the target from an acute angle.

Rory Gaffney and Dean Williams were also introduced within minutes of each other as the visitors continued to push for an equaliser.

With Derry content to sit back and hit on the break, their goalkeeper Peter Cherrie did well to smother the ball after Farrugia stormed into the box.

Rovers finally found a way through though, grabbing a fortuitous equaliser in the 74th minute. A deep cross from the right by Gaffney struck the upright and as the ball rebounded back into play it came off the body of the unfortunate Colm Horgan who diverted it into his own net from close range.

The visitors then had the final say in the 82nd minute when Roberto Lopes headed the ball home from six yards, as Derry failed to deal with a defensive clearance.

Derry had two more chances to take something from the match - first Figueira’s 90th minute shot failed to beat Mannus, who was down low to deny the winger after Ciaron Harkin had played him in.

And then deep into injury time Mannus did well again to palm clear a close range header from Toal following a cross from the left.

Derry City: Cherry; Horgan, Gilchrist, Toal, Coll; McCormack, Bruna (Harkin, 70); Malone, Thomson, Figueira; Akintunde (Mallon, 70).

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; O’Brien (Gaffney, 64), Lopes, Grace; Finn (Marshall, 75), O’Neill, McEneff, Watts (Burke, h-t), Lafferty (Farrugia, h-t); Byrne; Green (Williams, 67).

Referee: D Tomney (Dublin)

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