Derry City lose top of the table clash at Shamrock Rovers

Derry City striker Jamie McGonigle sees his close range effort kept out by Shamrock Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus. Picture by Kevin Moore / MCI

Derry City for a second game running let slip a missed opportunity, this time in the top of the table clash at Shamrock Rovers.

Ruaidhri Higgins‘men, just like they did against St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday evening, dominated for long periods at the home of the champions and in truth should have at least earned a share of the spoils from Tallaght Stadium.

Midfielder Will Patching, who deservedly picked up the man of the match award, ran the show; but again that killer instinct in the final third let City down.

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Derry City’s Ronan Boyce setting up another attack at Tallaght Stadium. Picture by Kevin Moore / MCI

Rovers, who were second best for most of the contest, never really came into the game until the final quarter with their substitutes of Danny Mandroiu, Sean Kavanagh and Dylan Watts the main difference in the end, in fact the ex-Bohemians man scored the all important winner.

City boss Ruaidhri Higgins rightfully kept faith with the same side which dominated things against the Saints in Monday night’s scoreless draw, at the Brandywell.

The visitors started well but it was the home side who created the first chance on 11 minutes as Sean Gannon skipped clear down the right, before seeing his low cross find Jack Byrne at the back post, but Ronan Boyce managed to slide in clear the danger .

Derry missed a glorious chance on 20 minutes when they did well to win possession high up in Rovers half, but after latching onto Joe Thomson’s pass, instead of shooting from the right side of the box Jamie McGonigle squared the ball to Matty Smith, but the ex-St Pat’s man’s touch let him down when inside the box and the ball was gathered by Rovers keeper Alan Mannus.

With their tails up the Brandywell men continued to dominate things and they should have taken the lead moments later as Brandon Kavanagh’s superb left wing center found McGonigle, who ghosted in at the back post, but his first time shot was outstandingly kept out by Mannus.

Just like the first half it was the Candy Stripes on top after the interval and more good play down the left on 52 minutes ended with Thomson feeding Danny Lafferty, but the ex-Rovers’ man saw his low drive from the angle, saved by Mannus .

Derry missed another super chance on 64 minutes as Brian Maher’s clever ball down field released Patching, who broke from midfield and his low center into the penalty box found Thomson, but the Scottish midfielder’s sliding effort from 10 yards was deflected over by substitute Kavanagh.

Rovers made a double change minutes later to try and get into the contest with Mandroiu and Watts replacing Rory Gaffney and Chris McCann respectively.

Those changes didn’t do much for the home side as it was Derry who had another half-chance, but McGonigle’s goal-bound close range strike, which had Mannus beaten, was blocked by defender Sean Hoare.

Stephen Bradley’s side missed a glorious chance on 75 minutes as Graham Burke’s inch perfect cut-back from the right found Hoare, but the center-back blasted over from close range.

The Dubliners scored the winner four minutes later as Andy Lyons broke clear down the left before seeing his shot parried away by a diving Maher and the alert Mandroiu was on hand to gleefully side footed home the loose ball.

The woodwork came to Rovers’ rescue on 90 minutes as Derry pushed forward for an equaliser and Evan McLaughlin’s right wing corner found Cameron Dummigan, but his high looping header from just inside the box, which had Mannus scrambling, clipped the crossbar.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Sean Gannon (Sean Kavanagh 55), Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Andy Lyons; Ronan Finn (Barry Cotter 81), Chris McCann (Dylan Watts 68), Richie Towell; Graham Burke, Rory Gaffney (Danny Mandroiu 68), Jack Byrne.

Derry City: Brian Maher, Ronan Boyce, Shane McEleney, Eoin Toal, Danny Lafferty; Cameron Dummigan, Joe Thomson, Will Patching; Brandon Kavanagh (James Akintunde 67), Jamie McGonigle, Matty Smith (Evan McLaughlin 78).

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).

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