Shamrock Rovers maintained their eight-point lead to stay well-clear at the top of the League of Ireland with a hard-earned three points at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Derry City 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
Report by Shaun Keenan at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium
Photos by North West Newspix
A sucker-punch from Aaron Greene to the Derry cause just before the interval was all that could separate the two sides on Foyleside as Declan Devine’s side failed to reply.
A draw probably would have been a fair reflection on the balance of play but Rovers once again proved their title credentials as they held out to steer eight-points clear of Bohemians in second place.
The heavyweight clash started at a pedestrians pace with Stephen Bradley’s side dominating possession for large spells in the opening 15 minutes.
However, the game was sparked into life when Lee Grace’s blistering head was sent just over for a goal kick following Joey O’Brien’s hoist cross into space from a free-kick.
Minutes later Patrick McClean’s shot was deflected wide for a pointless corner kick, but it was McClean’s defending that was called into question midway through the first half.
Dylan Watts got the better of the Creggan man after 20 minutes before failing to deliver what should have been a relatively easy cross towards the incoming Aaron Greene.
In a frantic last five minutes before the interval, the Derry faithful rose in jubilation when they thought Junior Ogedi-Uzoke had snatched the lead.
David Parkhouse directed a well-placed cross into the six-yard box, but his nodded effort went inches wide.
But Rovers stood firm and it paid dividends as Aaron Greene scampered on the counter-attack before diverting his effort beyond the emerging Peter Cheerie against the run of play.
Shortly after the break, Derry had another chance, this time through David Parkhouse.
The lone striker got beyond the last line of the Rovers defence after 53 minutes before calling Alan Manus into action with a comprehensive save.
After the hour mark and Rovers were under extreme pressure from the Derry attack as they probed for an equaliser.
But their search ended in despair as Rovers held out to send Derry packing into fourth place.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Patrick McClean, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Harkin, Ally Gilchrist; Darren Cole, Greg Sloggett, Barry McNamee, Eoghan Stokes; David Parkhouse, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Subs not used: Nathan Gartside, Conor McDermott, Ciaran Coll, Gerardo Bruna, Evan Tweed, Shane McNamee, Josh Kerr.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Dylan Watts, Ronan Finn; Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh, Trevor Clarke, Aaron Greene; Joey O’Brien, Jack Byrne.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Dan Carr, James Walter Furlong, Joel Coustrain, Dean Dillon, Brandon Kavanagh, Orjan Vojic.b