A goal in either half from David McDaid and Stephen McLaughlin helped Derry City cruise to a 2-0 victory over a disjointed Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
McDaid was on hand to sweep home from close range in the eighth minute from an inviting McLaughlin cross as City took advantage of some abject Shelbourne defending.
That trend continued ten minutes after the break as Dean Delany fumbled a McLaughlin shot over his line as the hosts’ defensive frailties were exposed.
The Reds made an enterprising start and should have opened the scoring within two minutes but David Cassidy’s inviting cross was headed wastefully over by Barry Clancy from six yards.
However, the defensive frailty that has undermined their campaign to date resurfaced in the eighth minute as the unmarked David McDaid slotted home from eight yards from Stephen McLaughlin’s precise left-wing cross.
That same duo almost combined to similarly telling effect in the 15th minute as McLaughlin left Gareth Matthews for dead before delivering another excellent cross that McDaid bundled wide from close range.
Derry continued to carry the greater threat, as reflected by Ryan McBride’s header from Simon Madden’s corner-kick in the 24th minute that, thankfully for the hosts, flew straight at Dean Delany.
Despite enjoying a glut of possession against their lethargic opponents, City failed to translate their supremacy into further opportunities as they entered the interval with a deserved goal advantage.
The second half resumed in a similar vein with City maintaining their dominance and it was scant surprise to see them double their lead in the 56th minute with Delany badly fumbling McLaughlin’s volley from Madden’s delivery to compound Shels’ defensive woes.
The chances continued to arrive for City and McDaid should have doubled his evening’s tally but he shot straight at Delany from the edge of the penalty area when given a sight at goal in the 69th minute.
Substitute Ryan Curran looked lively upon his introduction late on and his 25-yard effort in the 83rd minute had Delany scrambling at his far post but on this occasion his handling proved reliably secure.
Substitute Patrick McEleney could have added further insult to Shels late on when heading over from the excellent Madden’s cross but two goals were more than enough to secure the three points on offer.
Shelbourne: Delany; Matthews (Paisley, 32), Boyle, Shortall, Fitzgerald; Kavanagh (Murphy, 66), Cronin, Dawson, Clancy (C Byrne, 57); Cassidy, Hughes.
Derry City: Doherty; Madden, S McEleney, McBride, R McNamee; Brolly (Curran, 81), Higgins, Molloy, McLaughlin (P McEleney, 58); McDaid, Murphy.
Referee: P Sutton (Clare)