Shamrock Rovers 0 Derry City 1
Ryan McBride may not have scored for over a year, but his second half strike was enough to seize all three points for Kenny Shiels side.
The Candystripes introduced Harry Monaghan to replace the injured Conor McDermott with Lukas Schubert dropping back to right back. Monaghan nearly made an instant impact as City attacked right from the kick off, Monaghan playing in McNamee who found himself one on one with the keeper after 18 seconds, but tamely scuffed his shot.
Much had been made of the Rovers’ performance against Bohemians the previous week, but the Hoops struggled to penetrate City for much of the opening period. Whilst Finn, McAllister and Connolly saw plenty of the balls for the home side, they were rarely able to turn these opportunities into any sort of threat on Gerard Doherty’s goal.
The visitors were on the back foot possession wise, but sought to release Curtis or Boyle down the channels to threaten Rovers. City discipline was a concern with Ronan Curtis picking up a yellow card for not retreating for a free kick, and Schubert for hauling down Meenan. Rovers had their only shot on target in the first half from the free that resulted from the Schubert foul, but it was a tame effort straight at Doherty.
City forced the second real chance just before the break, when a deep cross from Low was met by Monaghan who headed wide.
After the break it was more of the same, with Rovers having more of the ball but City looking more threatening. Rovers had lost the highly rated Trevor Clarke to injury at the break, and his replacement Sean Heaney seemed to be targeted as City continually aimed for the channel between the centre halves and the left full back. One move saw Curtis drift in a high ball that was over everyone and moments later, McEneff won a corner from the same move.
A flighted delivery was not cleared and fell to the captain who smashed it home from 6 yards out and immediately ran to celebrate with the travelling faithful. It was the Rovers fans making plenty of noise moments later when Schubert was unable to catch a pass and kick the ball away.
The Rovers fans made it clear to referee Kelly that this was a yellow card offence, and it was to be an early exit for City’s right back after his yellow in the first half. A huge disappointment to the team, particularly to the Austrian, who had family members who had travelled for the game.
For the remaining 22 minutes it was a supreme defensive performance by City, who dropped Curtis to the right wing and ceded half the pitch to the home side. Nathan Boyle, who had run himself into the ground was replaced by Timlin, but City focused on ensuring that Rovers would not breach the defensive line.
Meenan had a chance with a header but put it well wide as Rovers tried to in vain to get back into the game. Madden threw himself to the ground inside the box, prompting howls from the City support, who pointed to the fact that he had already been booked. However it was to be City’s night as they returned with all three points.