Rovers' Danny Mandroiu celebrates scoring with teammates. Evan Treacy/INPHO

Mandroiu scores late winner as Shamrock Rovers overcome Derry in top-of-the-table clash

Stephen Bradley’s side are now four points clear of the Candystripes

SHAMROCK ROVERS earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Derry City at Tallaght Stadium tonight to stretch their lead at the top of the Premier Division table to four points.

Stephen Bradley’s side were not at their best, and the second-place Candystripes looked the more threatening team for long periods in what was a cagey affair.

However, the Hoops improved in the second half after making a couple of changes.

One substitution, in particular, paid off, as Danny Mandroiu proved the match-winner, converting from close range in the 79th minute after Andy Lyons’ initial low shot was saved by Brian Maher.

Chances were at a premium in the first half. Jamie McGonigle played through Matty Smith, but a heavy touch saw the opportunity wasted, while Alan Mannus also made a good save, after McGonigle connected with an inviting Brandon Kavanagh cross.

Rory Gaffney and Daniel Lafferty also went close to breaking the deadlock before Mandroiu finally opened the scoring after good work in the build-up by off-season recruit Lyons.

Cameron Dummigan almost grabbed a late equaliser, as his header hit the crossbar, but the hosts held on for three points that could prove vital come the end of the season.

Derry, who were missing some key players including Patrick McEleney can take heart from a performance that suggested they are not far off the reigning champions in terms of quality.

Not for the first time though, the Hoops’ impressive squad depth was highlighted, as they found a way to win amid an unconvincing display.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes, Sean Gannon (Sean Kavanagh 55), Ronan Finn (Barry Cotter 81), Andy Lyons, Chris McCann (Dylan Watts 69), Richie Towell, Graham Burke, Rory Gaffney (Danny Mandriou 68), Jack Byrne.

Derry City: Brian Maher, Ronan Boyce, Eoin Toal, Shane McEleney, Danny Lafferty, Cameron Dummigan, Will Patching, Joe Thomson, Matty Smith (Evan McLaughlin 78), Brandon Kavanagh (James Akintunde 66), Jamie McGonigle.

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