Derry City fall to fourth consecutive league loss at Brandywell

Derry City striker, Ronan Hale feels the full force of Greg Bolger's tackle during Saturday's league clash at Brandywell Stadium.
Derry City striker, Ronan Hale feels the full force of Greg Bolger's tackle during Saturday's league clash at Brandywell Stadium.

Derry City 0 Shamrock Rovers 1

DERRY CITY fell to fourth consecutive league defeat at Brandywell Stadium as substitute, Dan Carr handed Shamrock Rovers victory which saw them rise to third.

It was Derry's third game in the space of six days but it was a much improved display and they really should've taken something from the game.

Aaron McEneff and Ronan Hale both had glorious chances to equalise in the second half but failed to convert.

However, Carr's close range strike just 10 minutes after coming off the bench was enough for the Hoops as the Candy Stripes notched up a 16th league loss of the campaign.

Talk of finishing fifth given they travel to champions elect Dundalk on Tuesday night is surely now over with Derry way off the pace.

Kenny Shiels made three changes from the team which lost to Bohemians in the FAI Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night.

Eoin Toal made his first appearance since late July while Aaron Splaine and Adrian Delap were also handed starts. Gavin Peers, Dean Shiels and Ben Fisk all dropped to the bench.

Rovers boss, Stephen Bradley unsurprisingly kept faith with the team which registered that comprehensive 5-0 win over Limerick last weekend.

Rovers started on the front foot, bossing possession but it was Derry who had the first shot as Aaron McEneff fired high over the crossbar from 25 yards.

Rory Hale swung in a dangerous free-kick from wide on the right but his brother, Ronan somehow failed to get a telling touch and Rovers turned it behind at the far post.

It was a real let-off for the Hoops and City threatened again on 18 minutes when Jamie McDonagh drilled in a cross towards the back post and once again Ronan Hale failed to get a touch.

At the other end Ethan Boyle crossed towards Brandon Miele whose close range header was deflected into the side netting by a crucial touch from McDonagh.

Roberto Lopes headed narrowly over the crossbar from an inswinging free-kick from Brandon Kavanagh on 28 minutes.

City left-back, Kevin McHattie flashed his cross across the face of the Rovers goalmouth on 39 minutes but again, no one in a Candystripe shirt could get a touch.

Rovers keeper, Alan Mannus reacted quickly to smother the ball at the feet of Rory Hale three minutes after the break after neat build-up play involving Roy and McHattie on the left side of the Rovers penalty area.

Former Fulham winger, Sean Kavanagh was gifted time and space on the edge of the Derry area but sent his shot just wide of the target.

Ex-Hearts striker, Roy's run was beautifully picked out by Ronan Hale with a pass with the outside of his boot but the Scotsman fired his shot just over the crossbar on 55 minutes.

Rovers boss, Bradley reacted immediately by bringing on a double substitution with Dan Carr and Joel Coustrain replacing Brandon Kavanagh and Miele.

And Carr made an instant impact as he slotted in Lopes' drilled cross at the back post with Derry defenders hopelessly waiting for the assistant referee to signal for offside, but his flag stayed by his side and the goal stood.

Ronan Hale should've equalised 60 seconds later when McEneff found him superbly at the front post but the Belfast lad scuffed his close range effort on the volley.

Rovers were gifted a glorious chance to put the game beyond Derry when substitute, Nicky Low lost possession in the middle of the park allowing the Hoops to break.

And when Ronan Finn found Carr in space on the edge of the six yard box he took a touch allowing Toal time to get back and produce a vital block.

McEneff should've equalised for the home side on 82 minutes when Ronan Hale broke at pace and with options either side he found the former Spurs man who curled his shot over the bar.

It was the closest Derry were to come to clinching a draw as they now look to a daunting trip to Oriel Park on Tuesday night.

Derry City: G. Doherty: J. McDonagh, D. Cole, E. Toal, K. McHattie; R. Hale, A. Splaine, A. McEneff, A. Delap (G; Peers 83); R. Hale (N. Low 73); A. Roy; Subs Not Used - E., B. Fisk, C. Farren, D. Shiels, S. McNamee.

Shamrock Rovers: A. Mannus; E. Boyle, R. Lopes, L. Grace, S. Kavanagh; B. Miele (Carr 56), G. Bolger, D. Watts (S. Bone 84), B. Kavanagh (J. Coustrain 56); R. Finn, A. Greene; Subs Not Used - G. Bazunu, G. Shaw, J. O'Brien, A. Bolger.

Referee - Derek Tomney.