Shamrock Rovers fight back from poor start to dominate against Derry City

St Patrick’s Athletic keep up pursuit as they see off Drogheda United

Shamrock Rovers’ Richie Towell celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Derry City at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Shamrock Rovers’ Richie Towell celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Derry City at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Derry City 2 Shamrock Rovers 4

Shamrock Rovers moved to the summit of the Premier Division table on goal difference, thanks to this professional performance at the Brandywell.

In fact, before the game Rovers had their worries in relation to Covid-19 entering the dressingroom, their under-19 squad arriving on Foyleside by bus with the first team players making the journey by car.

However, having displayed their strength in depth, Stephen Bradley’s men dismissed worries of a European hangover, the Hoops having fallen 2-0 in arrears before producing a disciplined team performance.

Derry stunned their visitors when breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute.

The impressive Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe charged down a clearance by Roberto Lopes before the ball was fed to the advancing Ronan Boyce and he gleefully lashed it home from close range.

Junior continued to cause problems for the Rovers backline and he played the perfect pass to James Akintunde but the striker’s effort from just outside the area was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

And it was from the resultant corner that Derry sensationally doubled their lead.

When the ball arrived in the danger area, referee Rob Hennessy immediately pointed to the spot as Lopes appeared to impede Junior.

The Derry front man took control of the ball and stepped up to drive the spotkick home on the half hour.

That goal may have increased the noise levels at the Brandywell, but it also saw Rovers dig deep and work their way back into the game three minutes from the break.

As the home side seemed to struggle to adequately deal with sustained pressure, Graham Burke made them pay when he delivered a superb shot from 20 yards, giving Nathan Gartside no chance.

The visitors maintained the momentum when deservedly equalising with a superb team goal 10 minutes into the second half.

Aaron Greene did the spadework when feeding the ball left to Liam Scales and his squared pass made it so easy for skipper Ronan Finn to apply the finishing touch at the back post.

It got even better for Rovers when, in the 61st minute, Burke dinked the ball over the Derry defence which saw Rory Gaffney scamper clear and he thundered the ball high into the net from an acute angle to put his side in a very strong position.

That situation was confirmed in the 75th minute when Rovers netted a fourth goal following a Derry defensive error, young Boyce having slipped allowing Richie Towell to burst clear and in the one-on-one situation, he made no mistake to make it 4-2.

DERRY CITY: Gartside; Boyce, Toal, McJannet, Coll (Ferry, 74); Harkin, Malone (Cole, 60); Fitzgerald (McGonigle, 60), Akintunde, Lafferty; Ogedi-Uzokwe.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Grace (Towell, h/t), Lopes, Scales; Finn (Murphy, 85), O’Neill, Watts, Kavanagh; Mandriou (Gaffney, h/t ), Burke (Duffy, 90); Green (McMemamy, 85).

Referee: R Hennessy (Clare).

St Patrick’s Athletic’s Chris Forrester celebrates scoring a goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Drogheda United at Richmond Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
St Patrick’s Athletic’s Chris Forrester celebrates scoring a goal during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match against Drogheda United at Richmond Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Drogheda United 0

Chris Forrester scored for the second week running as St Patrick’s Athletic moved back second in the table.

Fellow midfielder Robbie Benson added the other goal as some 750 social distanced home fans were present to witness a fifth victory in seven games as Stephen O’Donnell’s Inchicore side maintained their title push. With just one win from their last six games Drogheda drop to fifth.

The visitors fleetingly troubled St Pat’s in the early exchanges with former Saint Darragh Markey doing well to pull the ball back for Mark Doyle who blazed over the top.

But it was the home side who should have really been in front on seven minutes, Darragh Burns heading wastefully over the crossbar from a Sam Bone cross.

The 25 degree heat took its toll as the sapping early pace of the game soon dropped with a welcome water break called.

The home side’s fifth corner of the game on 35 minutes should then have seen them ahead. Lee Desmond contrived to slice wide after Paddy Barrett’s header wasn’t properly cleared.

Burns then shot off target deep in stoppage time as St Pat’s remained on the front foot.

Continuing their dominance into the second half, 18-year-old Burns was central to St Pat’s finally breaking the deadlock on 61 minutes.

Jay McClelland’s superb diagonal ball picked out the run of Burns in behind. A sublime touch controlled the ball instantly before he rolled it across the goal to give Forrester a simple tap in.

Benson provided the gloss with a well-taken second goal on 80 minutes.

Striker Mattie Smith broke on the left to cut in and get a shot away which Davis Odumosu could only parry to Benson who turned sweetly onto his left foot to drive the ball to the net.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Jaros; Bone, Barrett, Desmond, McClelland; Forrester, Lewis; Burns (Bermingham, 83), Benson, King (McCormack, 76); Smith.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Odumosu; Brown, O’Reilly, Massey, Kane; Heeney (Hyland, 63), Deegan, Philips (Corcoran, 81); Markey, Doyle (Murray, 63); Lyons (Adeyemo, 27).

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).

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