Aaron Greene’s first-half strike secured a massive three points for Shamrock Rovers at Derry City.
Neither keeper had much to do throughout an entertaining encounter, with defences on top, while Rovers’ centre-back Roberto Lopes picked up the man of the match award.
Before kick-off the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium observed a minute's silence in memory of Lyra McKee, who died tragically in Creggan on Thursday evening.
Both sides took a while to settle into the game, which was played in front of a packed crowd, but it was the visitors who went close on 17 minutes. Lee Grace’s header flew just over the bar after Jack Byrne’s right-wing free-kick picked out the centre-back inside the City box.
On 42 minutes Derry missed a golden chance to take the lead as some clever play by Barry McNamee saw him feed David Parkhouse with a back-heel. The big striker’s cross from the right found Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, but the winger headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
That miss came back to haunt City as Rovers went straight up the other end to take the lead. A quick counter attack saw Jack Byrne play in Greene, who broke the offside trap and raced clear from the half-way line, before stroking the ball home past Peter Cherrie.
Derry, who started the second half on the back foot, had a good chance to level things on 54 minutes. Ogedi-Uzokwe’s pass released Parkhouse, but from a tight angle he shot straight at Rovers keeper Alan Mannus.
Rovers, who had to defend stoutly for long periods of the second half, went close to doubling their advantage on 74 minutes, Ronan Finn’s pile driver whistling just over the bar.
Two minutes later Derry went close themselevs when Patrick McClean’s left-wing cross found Ogedi-Uzokwe. With his weaker left foot, he blasted over from 10 yards out.
In the closing stages Rovers almost doubled their lead on the counter, but substitute Joel Coustrain saw his shot well saved by Cherrie. It mattered not. The Hoops saw it out and went home with the points.
Derry City: Cherrie, Cole, Toal, Gilchrist, McClean; McNamee, Harkin (McDermott 76), Sloggett; Junior, Parkhouse, Stokes (Bruna 57).
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus, O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, Clarke (Carr 66); Watts, Finn (Vojic 82), McEneff, Byrne (Coustrain 88); Kavanagh, Greene.
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).
Roberto Lopes is the man-of-the-match as Shamrock Rovers claim an impressive 1-0 win against Derry City to keep their lead at the top of the table at eight points. #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/r7Uqskh7qN— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) April 19, 2019