League Report: Derry City 0 - 2 Shamrock Rovers

Richie Towell celebrating the opening goal for Rovers in Derry

Richie Towell celebrating the opening goal for Rovers in Derry Credit: John-Paul McGinley (ETPhotos)

Shamrock Rovers’ 2-0 victory in Derry means the Hoops jump above the Candystripes and into second place in the league table.

Superb first half goals from Richie Towell and Jack Byrne were enough for all three points.

With Alan Mannus going off in the second half due to a finger injury, Leon Pohls came on and, on his 26th birthday and in the week he got married, saved Ben Doherty’s late spotkick as Stephen Bradley’s side made it five consecutive clean sheets away from home.

The Hoops scored the opener on the half hour mark through a Towell volley.

Rovers moved the ball from back to front with Towell involved in the passing move before motoring into the box. Byrne drilled a diagonal ball wide to Trevor Clarke who headed the ball beautifully into the path of the onrushing Towell who lifted the ball over Brian Maher in the City goal for the first of the game

The Hoops had looked to exploit the pace of Johnny Kenny in behind the City defence in the first half with balls over the top.

A couple of times Maher came out of his area to prevent the ball falling to Kenny but in first half injury time he was punished when he didn’t clear the one into the stands when he rushed out ahead of Kenny.

The City keeper came out of his goal wide on the Rovers right but he kept his clearance in the playing area. Gary O'Neill got to the clearance and won a header with the ball falling to Byrne who drilled it back into the empty goal from 35 yards for his third goal of the season.

The Hoops certainly deserved the lead at half-time as Alan Mannus wasn’t tested by the Candystripes and just after the hour mark Mannus needed to come off with a dislocated or broken finger.

Leon Pohls came on in his place - the German goalkeeper had played in Rovers’ last two matches in Derry – both of which the Hoops had lost (in the FAI Cup quarter-final last year and this season’s President’s Cup).

He was the hero for the Hoops saving Ben Doherty’s penalty four minutes from time after Cian Kavanagh went down in the box under pressure from Sean Hoare and Dan Cleary.

Pohls dived to his right and saved so that Rovers' goal concession tally away from home in the league this season remains at just two goals.

Next up for the Hoops on Friday is the visit of league leaders Bohemians to Tallaght Stadium. Should Rovers make it five wins from their last six Dublin derbies, they would move within a point of the Gypsies.

Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Shane McEleney, Cameron McJannet, Ben Doherty; Sadou Diallo (Cian Kavanagh 67); Ryan Graydon (Brandon Kavanagh 84), Oliver O'Neill (Jordan McEneff 46), Adam O'Reilly, Michael Duffy; Jamie McGonigle (Colm Whelan 46).
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ciaran Coll, Liam Mullan, Sean Patton, Matthew Ward.
Booked: Cameron McJannet (54).

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus (Leon Pohls 63); Daniel Cleary, Pico Lopes, Lee Grace; Trevor Clarke (Neil Farrugia 77), Gary O'Neill, Markus Poom, Ronan Finn (Sean Hoare 77); Jack Byrne, Johnny Kenny (Aaron Greene 67), Richie Towell.
Subs not used: Simon Power, Darragh Nugent, Conan Noonan, Graham Burke, Rory Gaffney.
Booked: Jack Byrne (41), Trevor Clarke (52), Richie Towell (70), Ronan Finn (75).

Referee: Rob Harvey.
Attendance: 3,500 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers)