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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
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Derry City go second with another late strike as tempers flare at Tolka

29 August 2022; Ryan Graydon of Derry City shoots to score his side's first, and winning goal, in injury-time of the second half during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Shelbourne and Derry City at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Just as Derry City looked set to add another draw to their list of hard luck stories, a slice of good luck changed the atmosphere of their trip home.

Ruaidhri Higgins side had drawn 10 of their 26 league games prior to this encounter, a stat which explains their inability to keep up with Shamrock Rovers. Like Rovers, Derry have lost just four games.

They are finding it harder to match the champions winning habit.

But they got their fix here as the fourth official put the board up to signal four extra minutes. Brendan Clarke was on form for Shels here, yet the home keeper had no answer when a Ryan Graydon shot took a wicked deflection off Luke Byrne to loop into the net and delight the away support.

It moves Derry into second spot in the table, with Shels frustrations boiling over in the aftermath with Sean Boyd receiving a second yellow after the final whistle to rule him out of Friday’s trip to Dundalk.

Damien Duff’s side worked hard for him, but they didn’t ask enough questions of their guests defensively and that left them open to the killer blow.

Graydon was prominent inside a minute, firing inches wide, a deceptive passage of play which suggested this game would be high on goalscoring activity. Alas, this was probably the most exciting moment of the half.

With Brandon Kavanagh as their central striker, a false nine of sorts, Higgins’ side were trying to pull Shels out of shape with clever movements yet they had limited success.

Shels grew into proceedings and had a good spell prior to the interval with Brian McManus striking over the bar.

But that wouldn’t have warranted mentioned on another day and the main flashpoint was a studs up tackle from Derry’s Sadou Diallo on JJ Lunney that drew a yellow when red shirts wanted the card to match their jersey tone.

It wasn’t terrible fare; there were some reasonable passages of play around the midfield department but it always broke down in the final third.

Derry mixed things up at the break, switching Kavanagh right and putting James Akintunde through the centre and he gave them a more natural focal point, although he isn’t the most prolific and wasted a chance to convert a Joe Thomson cross.

After surviving a scare when Cameron Dummigan used his head to block a goalbound Gavin Molloy shot, Derry gained control and entertainment levels increased.

Clarke suddenly became busy, denying an instinctive Patrick McEleney effort from distance before combining with Byrne to block Akintunde from close range.

When a rampaging run from Graydon culminated with another Clarke stop, the exasperated response from the Derry bench was telling. But Graydon, a summer signing from Longford, had enough in the tank to alter the script.

Shelbourne striker Sean Boyd was sent-off after the final whistle when he received a second yellow card for his involvement in a brief altercation involving players from both sides.

Shelbourne: Clarke, Griffin, Byrne, Ledwidge; Farrell, Lunney (Hakiki 76), Molloy, Kane; McManus (Dervin 66), Moylan (Hodgins 85); Boyd.

Derry City: Maher, Dummigan, S McEleney, McJannet, Coll; Diallo, P McEleney; Graydon (Lafferty 90), Thomson Boyce 60), Akintunde (C Kavanagh 78); B Kavanagh (Duffy 60).

Referee: Rob Harvey.

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