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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Mark McCadden

Derry City go top as Ryan Graydon goal sees off Shelbourne

Shelbourne 0-1 Derry City

An early Ryan Graydon goal was enough to send Derry City to the top of the Premier Division - at least until Bohemians’ trip to Sligo Rovers.

Normal service resumed in the Derry-Shelbourne rivalry, with this one a tight affair, much like their league encounters throughout last season.

Their FAI Cup final meeting, won convincingly by the Candy Stripes, remains an anomaly.

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Damien Duff’s men were compact once again after a poor and costly start - and should have been level but for a horrible Kian Leavy miss in the 32nd minute.

But it was an unconvincing opening that ultimately cost them - one that saw JR Wilson race back to block Jamie McGonigle’s angled effort on the line and goalkeeper Conor Kearns tip Will Patching’s 25-yard free-kick over the bar.

But that’s where the hosts’ resistance ended. Patching raced over to take the resulting corner, which was finished by Graydon from five yards.

It was a simple finish, but only because of a perfectly executed training ground move.

Picked up on the edge of the area by Matty Smith, Graydon spun around the back of the Shels defence and completely lost his marker, who may have been blocked, in the process.

As Graydon wheeled away in front of the drenched travelling support, Smith, who had barely moved from his original position, held his arms in the air in despair.

Ben Doherty’s direct running on the left was causing problems for the Shelbourne defence.

He skipped around JR Wilson in the 15th minute, cut into the area and was denied by the feet of Kearns, and on the half-hour he was thwarted by a Paddy Barrett block.

Both sides exchanged candidates for miss of the season in a six-minute spell that saw Shels force their way into Derry’s final third.

Jack Moylan latched onto a long ball forward, outfoxed Shane McEleney and, pushed wide, cut inside onto his left foot and drilled a low shot towards the near post.

Brian Maher saved with his feet and the ball fell kindly to Kian Leavy seven yards from goal. The recent Ireland Under-21 call-up took a touch, but blazed over the bar.

At the other end, Leavy’s international teammate Ollie O’Neill did similar in the 38th minute, but from 10 yards.

Sandwiched between two early second-half chances for Shels - a Tyreke Wilson free and a Smith shot, both saved by Maher - the hosts were reduced to 10 men.

Paddy Barrett had been booked in the first-half and he was shown a second yellow four minutes after the break after he clashed with Jamie McGonigle.

It looked a soft call, with replays failing to clear up whether there was sufficient contact to warrant such a pivotal decision.

The Reds’ growing sense of injustice led to a booking for manager Damien Duff on 61 minutes, after he argued one poor call, in his view, too many from referee Paul McLaughlin.

Despite being a man down, Shels pressed high up the pitch as the clock wound down, but without causing Maher much trouble.

Derry should have had a second seven minutes from the end when McGonigle laid the ball into the path of Doherty, whose effort was well saved by Kearns.


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