Twigg breaks dogged Shels' resistance
Shelbourne 2 Shamrock Rovers 3:WITH HIS 14th and 15th goals of the season, Gary Twigg helped Shamrock Rovers twice come from behind to beat 10-man Shelbourne in a pulsating derby at Tolka Park. And make no mistake, a doggedly gallant Shelbourne, a man down for over 70 minutes, more than played their part.
The pity for Alan Mathews’ side was the winner on 79 minutes had a major element of good fortune about it. Gary McCabe’s shot was clearly going wide before Twigg instinctively threw himself at the ball to head it past Dean Delany.
The win sees the champions narrow the gap on leaders Sligo Rovers to five points.
McCabe had scored Rovers’ second equaliser on 68 minutes when his fierce low drive took a deflection off defender Brian Shortall to enter the net. That levelled the goal of the game from Philly Hughes four minutes earlier. The little striker showed brilliant feet to weave his way past three Hoops defenders and rifle a rising right-footed shot past Oscar Jansson.
On the longest day of the year, Mathews’ team began with plenty of purpose and intent. And it brought the reward required with the lead goal on seven minutes.
Jansson had to backtrack sprightly to tip over Hughes’ audacious shot from over 40 yards. Shelbourne duly scored from David Cassidy’s resultant corner.
Stephen Paisley helped on Anto Murphy’s header which came back off a post and Paul Byrne shot home following a scramble for his first goal on his first start of the season.
But the game wasn’t long in swinging Rovers’ way, however, as they hit back within six minutes. Graham Gartland met Billy Dennehy’s corner with a firm header to force Delany into merely batting the ball back into the danger zone.
The ensuing scramble ended with Twigg, ever alert to a loose ball in the box, hooking home.
Shelbourne’s bright start appeared but a distant memory within a further five minutes as winger Murphy was shown a straight red card for a lunging challenge on Conor Powell.
Rovers enjoyed much of the possession against the ten men in the remainder of the half, but it was Shelbourne who came closest to regaining the lead on 44 minutes.
Kavanagh set up substitute Conan Byrne, whose rifling drive needed a good save from Jansson.
SHELBOURNE: Delany; Ryan, Shortall, Paisley, Clancy (Hurley, 83 mins); Murphy, Cassidy, Dawson, Kavanagh; P Byrne (C Byrne, 30 mins), Hughes.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; Gilbert (Turner, 35 mins), Oman, Gartland, Powell; McCabe, McCormack, Finn, Dennehy; Twigg, O’Neill (Greene, 69 mins).
Referee: T Connolly (Dublin).