Rovers pay for Mannus horror gaffe

DERRY City moved to within a point of top spot following a thrilling win against leaders Shamrock Rovers at the Brandywell last night.

With both keepers heavily involved in the action, it was Rovers’ Alan Mannus who will wish to forget his performance after spilling the ball into his net in the 53rd minute for the game’s only goal.

At the other end, Derry stopper Gerard Doherty was hailed a hero afterwards, his series of top-drawer saves keeping the leaders at bay as Shamrock Rovers went in search of an equaliser.

The result certainly makes the race for the Premier Division title particularly interesting, with St Pat’s and Sligo Rovers also celebrating last night’s outcome.

With Reading boss Brian McDermott and his director of football Nick Hammond interested spectators at the Foyleside venue, Derry certainly had quality chances to break the deadlock during the first half — but Stephen McLaughlin and Eamon Zayed failed to take advantage.

The best chance of the opening period, however, was created by the home side.

In the 38th minute, following a catalogue of errors in the Rovers defence, Zayed drove a shot straight at Mannus in a one-on-one situation.

The home side broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half.

A Daniel Lafferty free-kick 30 yards from goal bounced in front of Mannus, who could only help scoop the ball into his net.

Rovers stepped up a gear and they went so close to getting back on level terms in the 74th minute when a Twigg shot on the turn was superbly turned away from his goal by Derry keeper Doherty.

Doherty produced the goods again when pulling off a magnificent save from Billy Dennehy as Rovers piled forward at every opportunity.

The keeper then made matters safe with another magnificent parry in the dying moments, this time to deny Twigg from close range.

DERRY CITY: – Doherty; S McEleney, McBride, Greacen, Lafferty; P McEleney (Harkin 72), Higgins, Molloy, McClean; McLaughlin, Zayed.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: – Mannus; Sullivan, Sives, Oman, Stevens; McCabe (Kelly 58), Finn, Rice (Turner 58), Dennehy; Twigg, Kilduff (O’Donnell, 72).

Referee: D Hancock (Dublin).

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