DERRY City maintained their push for a European place as Rory Patterson’s goal clinched victory over Shamrock Rovers in last night’s SSE Airtricity Premier League.
The crucial win in the battle between third and fourth place moves them five points clear of the Dublin side.
But Rovers are not out of the hunt just yet as they have two games in hand.
Cork remain second in the table, a point ahead of Derry, after their 4-0 win over Bray Wanderers on last night, Tuesday, August 30..
Patterson headed Derry’s winner on 36 minutes after a Conor McDermott cross.
Former Derry player Simon Madden threatened the visitors early on at Tallaght Stadium with a couple of strong runs while Patrick McClean had to react smartly to clear after keeper Gerard Doherty had beaten away a Trevor Clarke cross.
But the Candy Stripes started to take control with the impressive Aaron McEneff testing Rovers keeper Craig Hyland with two fierce free-kicks.
Derry took a deserved lead in the 36th minute as Patterson notched his 13th goal of the campaign by heading McDermott’s cross past Hyland.
Rovers rallied after the break with the impressive Doherty denying Gary Shaw and home striker Brandon Miele wasting a great chance as he attempted to find a team-mate instead of shooting himself.
Barry McNamee should have sealed Derry’s victory.
He wasted a glorious chance after a Lukas Schubert cross and the visitors had to defend stoutly late on with McClean and McDermott making crucial interventions.
Derry’s win moves them to within two points of leaders Dundalk.
But the Oriel Park team’s European adventures in recent weeks means they have four games in hand on the Candy Stripes.
Kenny Shiels’ Derry side are now unbeaten in eight league games.
The Candy Stripes will be back in action on Friday night when they host Galway United.
And a further three points will keep them in contention for second place – points in the bag are much better than games in hand.