An impressive away performance from the Candystripes moves them up above Sligo into second place in the league
An organised and composed performance from Derry City earned them all the points at Tolka Park as Shelbourne struggled in front of goal once again. A superb Michael Duffy goal was the difference between the two sides.
The first big chance of the game fell Shelbourne's way. Mark Leech broke into space down the right hand side and drilled a low ball across the box. Robert Bayly fooled the Candystripes defence with a stepover but Dean Kelly could only blast the ball over the bar from close range. It wasn’t long before Shels created another attempt on goal. A neat one-two with Dean Kelly put Sean Brennan through on goal. Derry keeper Gerard Doherty reacted quickly and was diving at Brennan’s feet before the winger could get a clean strike on goal. Derry’s high defensive line meant that Doherty had to stay on his toes all game as Leech and Kelly looked to break in behind the back four.
A Robert Bayly head injury impacted on the home side's attacking momentum. Bayly was able to continue after a couple of minutes treatment on the side line but Shelbourne started to defend deeper as Derry took control of the ball for the first time in the game. Michael Duffy found space down the left wing time and time again.
Two attempts on goal from Duffy went agonisingly close to opening the scoring. A looping header across the goal beat Niall Burdon in the Shels goal but also drifted outside the right post. On the stroke half time the left-winger cracked a shot off the post. Ruaidhri Higgins was on hand to pick up the rebound but his effort back across the goal went wide. Much to the relief of the stunned Burdon, who had little to do up until a hectic last five minutes of the half.
Bayly’s head injury prevented him from returning to the pitch after the break, so Glenn Cronin came on in his place. The club captain’s return should prove a major boost for the side at a vital point in their season. The midfielder didn’t take long to get involved. A determined run saw him latch on to a loose ball at the edge of the box and drive a shot towards goal.
The Candystripes eventually made the breakthrough in the 64th minute. Rory Patterson played a neat through-ball in behind Ian Ryan and Duffy was on hand to produce a fine dinked finish over the oncoming Burdon. Derry closed the game off in a comfortable fashion. Duffy and Patterson’s movement caused huge problems in the last twenty minutes as the Shels defence tired.
A dogged away win moves Derry up above Sligo Rovers and into second in the table. While the task doesn’t get any easier for Shelbourne as they begin to cut a lonely figure at the bottom of the division.