Derry City had to come from behind to beat Shelbourne tonight at Tolka Park, but new Shels boss Alan Mathews will take many positives from the result.
Mathews’ side had a dream start when Michael Coburn gave the Reds the lead after just two minutes.
Some pressure from Shels yielded a corner which was delivered into the Derry penalty area, and after the defence missed successive clearances Coburn was on hand to smash the ball past Gerard Doherty in goal.
The home side went on to dominate the half, not affording Derry much time on the ball and using it well.
Despite all of their eloquent passing and possession Shels couldn’t kill Derry off, something that would come back to haunt them later in the match.
On five minutes David Cassidy forced Doherty to save well after his free-kick arched towards the top-left corner.
Shels kept up their dominance and Derry didn’t manage a clear chance until just before half time.
After thirty-eight minutes Mark Farren should have equalised for the Candystripes. Two clever passes put the striker through on goal, only for Farren to shoot wide.
Shels had a corner a minute half time which came to nothing, and Derry mounted a counter-attack.
Derry forced a corner, but Shane McEleney headed wide after rising the highest, leaving it 1-0 to Shels going into half time.
The Reds came out with the same mentality they had emerged for the first half with.
Sean Byrne shot wide from yards out on forty-eight minutes after Adalberto Pinto did well to find him.
Colin O’Brien had another great chance to finish off Derry three minutes later, gliding past two defenders before shooting wide.
But by far the best chance for Shels to seal the win came on sixty-six minutes. After he did well to get through on goal McGill agonisingly shot straight into the arms of Ger Doherty.
Shels were made to pay for their failure to finish the match off two minutes later as Mark Farren at last got the equaliser for Derry.
Goalscorer Michael Coburn was at fault, after a he let a Derry clearance bounce under him- inadvertently letting Farren in to slot the ball simply past Dean Delany.
From then on, it seemed as if it was a matter of time before Derry scored again.
Philip Gorman had a chance with six minutes left but couldn’t get his header on target. Derry then went to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation in search of the winner.
With just two minutes remaining, Derry broke Shels hearts with a winning goal. A cross from David McDaid found Thomas McBride, whose header looped over Delany and into the Shels goal.
The Reds went in search of a late equaliser, but ultimately Derry were able to hold out and grab a deserved win.
Attendance: 930 (official)
Referee: Graham Kelly
Shelbourne FC: Dean Delany, Ray Scully (Gareth Whelan ’90), Sean Byrne, Ian Ryan, Mick Coburn, Colin O’Brien, David McGill, David Cassidy, Dinny Corcoran (Brian Farrell ’59), Philip Gorman, Adalberto Pinto (Stephen Quigley ‘74)
Subs Not Used: Steve Williams, Mick Clarke
Yellow Cards: David McGill
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Eddie McCallion, Emmet Friars, Barry Molloy, Mark McChrystal, Shane McEleney (Michael McCrudden ’62 (Seamus Sharkey ‘91), Ruari Harkin, Mark Farren (Daniel Lafferty ’85), David McDaid, Patrick McEleney, Thomas McBride
Subs Not Used: Eugene Ferry, Stephen Parkhouse
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ruari Harkin
Niall Farrell is our correspondent at Tolka Park, covering the goings-on at Shelbourne. You can visit Niall's website for further information and contact details- niallf.net.