League Report: Shelbourne 0 – 1 Derry City
Rónán MacNamara reports from Tolka Park
A late Ryan Graydon winner gave Derry City all three points in stoppage time as they made their second half pressure pay at Tolka Park.
After a dreadful first half, City pulled their socks up and were much improved in the last half an hour and after Brendan Clarke pulled off three excellent saves it took an extremely unfortunate deflection to beat him as Graydon’s shot from the edge of the area wrongfooted him and went into the net.
Graydon’s shot cannoned off Luke Byrne in the first minute of four added on to give Derry City a deserved win as they created all the big chances in the second half.
The first half won’t live long in the memory of anybody who had the misfortune of being in attendance with neither keeper given a workout and both sides being laboured and ponderous in possession.
Ruaidhri Higgins’ team lacked any conviction in their passing, often misplacing simple balls and leaving themselves vulnerable to Shelbourne counter attacks.
While the Candystripes were turgid in possession, Shels showed a real lack of ambition opting to play backways at every opportunity and lacking any pace to hurt the visitors on the break.
Perhaps the opening period might have been different had Graydon scored after 30 seconds. The right winger should have hit the target from the edge of the area but his effort didn’t curl inside the post.
That was it in a dreadful opening half. James Akintunde did have the ball in the net but the offside flag had already been raised.
Akintunde should have opened the scoring two minutes after the interval but his effort from 12 yards lacked any conviction and dribbled through to Clarke. Still it was a shot on target, but he should have scored after a great run and pull back from Joe Thomson.
It took until the hour mark for the Candystripes to find their groove and they should have been a goal to the good but Clarke was in inspired form making two saves in a matter of minutes.
First the Shels keeper did well to tip Patrick McEleney’s effort over the bar before Cameron McJannett saw a goal bound header blocked on the line.
Substitute Michael Duffy gave Derry an edge they lacked and he beat Shane Farrell for pace before delivering a low cross to Akintunde who was sensationally denied by Clarke from point blank range.
Derry’s turgid opening half soon turned into zest and fervour in possession as they pressed the Reds high and passed with intent and zip.
Graydon will wonder how he didn’t open the scoring with 15 minutes to go after pouncing on Gavin Molloy’s loose pass. The winger was baring down on goal beating two players on his way but Clarke came steaming out to deny him.
Damien Duff turned to youngster Jad Hakiki to try and instigate some control in midfield but it was to little avail as Derry attacked in waves searching for the winner.
Heartbreak for Duff and elation for Higgins as Graydon’s stoppage time effort from outside the box took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Luke Byrne, wrongfooting Clarke and sending the 40 City fans behind the goal into raptures.
The long trip was just about worth it as City move into second in the table seven points behind league leaders Shamrock Rovers who have a game in hand over the Candrystripes (and two over Dundalk who are third level on points with City).
Shels will be without Sean Boyd for their trip to Oriel Park on Friday as the striker was shown a red card after the final whistle.
Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Luke Byrne, Shane Griffin, Conor Kane, Kameron Ledwidge, Gavin Molloy; Shane Farrell, JJ Lunney (Jad Hakiki 75), Brian McManus (Aodh Dervin 66), Jack Moylan; Sean Boyd.
Subs not used: Scott Van der Sluis, Stephen Negru, Lewis Temple, Stephen Mohan, Gavin Hodgins, Josh Giurgi, Daniel Carr.
Booked: Brian McManus (51).
Sent off: Sean Boyd (90+4).
Derry City: Brian Maher; Ciaran Coll, Cameron Dummigan, Shane McEleney; Sadou Diallo, Ryan Graydon (Daniel Lafferty 92), Brandon Kavanagh (Michael Duffy 60), Patrick McEleney, Cameron McJannet, Joe Thomson (Ronan Boyce 60); James Akintunde (Cian Kavanagh 77).
Subs not used: Jack Lemoignan, Caoimhin Porter, Will Patching.
Booked: Sadou Diallo (34) Cameron Dummigan (51).
Referee: Rob Harvey
extratime.com Player of the Match: Brendan Clarke