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Candystripes rocked as Rovers hit back to retain perfect record

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Close quarters: Derry’s Ally Gilchrist with Aaron Greene

Close quarters: Derry’s Ally Gilchrist with Aaron Greene

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Close quarters: Derry’s Ally Gilchrist with Aaron Greene

Shamrock Rovers came from behind to maintain their 100% record at the top of the Premier Division at the expense of a disappointed Derry City at the Brandywell yesterday.

The league leaders were in danger of dropping their first points of the season after Walter Figueira's first half goal had given the Candystripes the lead, but an own goal from Colm Horgan and a follow up from Roberto Lopes kept their perfect run intact.

The game was drifting uneventfully towards half-time when the first goal arrived out of absolutely nowhere. Eoin Toal collected the ball on half way and decided to join the attack, bursting between two Rovers players before finding Walter Figueira on the left wing. Toal continued into the penalty area in anticipation of a cross, which was duly delivered but, incredibly, eluded both Lopes and Alan Mannus with the ball sneaking into the net.

Boss Stephen Bradley was far from happy with his team's inability to test City keeper Peter Cherrie and, midway through the second half, he had used all of his substitutes to completely change the look of his attack.

Those changes had the desired effect as Rovers finally levelled on 78 minutes, but there was still an element of luck about the goal.

Rory Gaffney did well to pick out a cross from the right and a glancing header by Dean Williams went over Cherrie but onto the post before it bounced off the unfortunate Colm Horgan and into the net.

Rovers were relentless after that and, buoyed by the goal, went in search of a winner which they thought they'd got when Neil Farrugia went in from the left and picked out Williams, but he was denied from close range by a superb save by Cherrie.

City were, however, unable to defend the resulting short corner, Graham Burke receiving the ball in the area before sending it into the mix, where Lopes was on hand to fire it past Cherrie with just eight minutes remaining.

Derry continued to push in added time and they came so close to levelling when Adam Hamill's cross was met brilliantly by Ciaron Harkin who headed onto the crossbar before Mannus somehow kept out Toal's follow-up.

DERRY: Cherrie, Horgan, Toal, Gilchrist, Coll, McCormack, Thompson (Hamill, 82 mins), Bruna (Harkin, 71 mins), Malone (Cole, 82 mins), Figueira, Akintunde (Mallon, 71 mins).

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus, Grace, Lopes, O'Brien (Gaffney, 63 mins), Lafferty (Farrugia, 46 mins), Finn (Marshall, 75 mins), McEneff, O'Neill, Watts (Burke, 46 mins), Byrne, Greene (Williams, 67 mins).

Referee: Derek Michael Tomney.

Belfast Telegraph