SHAMROCK ROVERS 0
SHELBOURNE 2 [Connolly, Duffy]
Report Courtesy of extratime.ie
Goals from Dylan Connolly and substitute Lee Duffy saw Shelbourne keep the pressure on First Division pace setters Longford Town with what could be described as a slightly flattering 2-0 Ringsend derby win over a spirited Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ side at Tallaght Stadium.
Sunday’s derby clash was the third contested between the two teams this season with 0-0 and 1-1 draws transpiring in the two previous encounters. However, the SSE Airtricity League First Division league table drew a rather different comparison between both sides with Shels sitting pretty in second spot and Rovers lying just one place above basement side Cobh Ramblers.
Despite Rovers creating the better goalscoring opportunities in the opening twenty minutes, it was Shelbourne who drew first blood. With 21 minutes on the clock, Lee Desmond punted what seemed a fairly innocuous long ball forward that sailed over the head of Sean Heaney. Conor Dunne failed to save face for Heaney and so the ball fell into the path of the onrushing Dylan Connolly whose close range finish crossed the goal line despite Conor O’Malley’s best efforts to prevent it from doing so.
Following the concession of the opener, the Hoops continued to provide the Reds with a stern test. However, Shels managed to double their lead just after the half hour mark courtesy of substitute Lee Duffy. Only on the pitch a mere two minutes, Duffy instigated the move himself by embarking on a marauding run down the right flank that began deep in his own half before picking out Connolly at the far post. Connolly then stepped inside Michael Kelly and unleashed a low drive that was parried by O’Malley into the path of Duffy who tapped home from close range.
Undeterred by their two goal deficit, Rovers responded positively and set about pulling one back before the break. And that they almost did with Dylan Kavanagh’s looping half-volley very nearly dipping under Greg Murray’s crossbar.
Shels started the opening minutes of the second period sprightlier than the hosts and as a result carved out the half’s first real chance on 50 minutes when a stinging effort from Jake Donnelly tested the reflexes of O’Malley in the Rovers goal.
Hoops boss Colin Hawkins decided he needed to shake things up if his side were to find a way back into the game and so proceeded to push Chris Lyons forward from the pocket between midfield and the frontline and into a more advanced centre-forward role.
The said tactical manoeuvre proved an astute move by Hawkins with Lyons being the cause of much consternation for the visiting back four during the second-half. On 61 minutes he linked with Daniel Purdy to set up the ex-West Ham United trainee on the edge of the box but much to the relief of the travelling Shels support, the timely intervention of Desmond proved sufficient enough to avert the danger for the Tolka Park side.
Subsequently, after threatening to do so on a number of occasions, Lyons managed to break beyond the Shels rear-guard and succeeded in fashioning two goal scoring opportunities for himself in quick succession.
On 77 minutes the pint-sized Bray man made use of his physical strength in muscling his way into a shooting position before dragging a shot towards the left-hand corner that was saved with relative comfort by Murray.
Shortly after, Lyons again succeeded in evading the Shels defence but an impressive block was to see him denied by former Home Farm keeper Murray for a second time.
With ten minutes or so remaining, the menacing Connolly completely miscued a golden opportunity to put the result beyond all doubt for Shels after outpacing Corie Tracey but it mattered little as the best Rovers could managed to muster in the closing stages was a long range Purdy effort that forced Murray to stretch upward and pluck the ball out of the air.
The result sees Shels narrow Longford’s lead at the table summit to one point with one more game played than Tony Cousins’ side whilst on the other side of the coin, Rovers will make next week’s journey to Ferrycarrig Park on the back of a losing streak that has now been extended to seven games.
Shamrock Rovers ‘B’: Conor O’Malley; Michael Kelly, Conor Dunne (Corie Tracey 54), Sean Heaney, Alan Kehoe; Daniel Purdy, Kevin Knight, Cian Kavanagh (Richie Purdy 71), Dylan Kavanagh; Chris Lyons, Mark Sandford (Emeka Onwubiko 71).
Subs not used: Michael Kelly, Gavin Boyne, Azeez Yusuff, Adam Whelan.
Shelbourne: Greg Murray; Brian Gannon, Ryan Robinson, Lee Desmond, Phillip Hand; Jake Donnolly, Gary Dempsey (Matthew Taylor 87), Gareth Coughlan; Dylan Connolly, Lee Murtagh (Lee Duffy 31), Conor Murphy (Adam McDonnell 29).
Subs not used: Nathan Murphy, John Sullivan, Dylan Cashin, Simon Dixon.
Referee: Andrew Mullally
Attendance: 300 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Dylan Connolly