Rovers failure to take the lead during a good first-half enabled the home side to seize the initiative early in the second period when McNamee squeezed a header past Barry Murphy. A second headed goal just 9 minutes from time looked to have settled the tie but a late rally from Rovers saw Stephen Rice score a fine goal with a low driven shot and despite some late pressure the Candystripes held on to inflict Rovers first league defeat of the season.
The Hoops started brightly with Billy Dennehy involved firstly sending in a dangerous cross from the left and then shooting wide when set up by Sheppard on the edge of the area. On 6 minutes a Chambers free-kick was headed across goal by David Elebert and the ball eventually fell for Chambers but 'keeper Doherty comfortably saved his shot from distance.
Good play from Karl Sheppard down the right saw his cross deflected just wide of Doherty's right-hand post. Derry showed little up front and Foran and Elebert handled any balls into the Hoops area. Finn and Kilduff comnbined on 26 minutes and the Hoops number 21 saw his cross cut out by Doherty. The home side mounted some pressure after 31 minutes with Simon Madden sending in two dangerous crosses but each time Pat Sullivan cleared for the Hoops defence.
Rovers best chance of the half came on 33 minutes when O'Connor rolled a free-kick from the right-hand side of the Derry box into the path of Ronan Finn and his swerving shot was only parried by Doherty and defender McCaffrey almost put the ball into his own net as he cleared under pressure from Kilduff.
Rovers forced two corners in succession on 34 minutes but Doherty punched away the second kick to relieve the pressure. Derry had a late chance when Patterson found space behind the Hoops defence but Sullivan got back to block his shot. The Hoops finished the half with a chance of their own when Elebert won possession and Finn pounced to smash a shot that narrowly went wide.
[GOAL 1:0 - 52th min.] The home side took the lead when McEleney's deep cross from the right saw McNamee head the ball across Barry Murphy and as the 'keeper scrambled across goal the ball curved into the corner of the net.
Gary McCabe was introduced and the Hoops enjoyed some posession with Sheppard heading wide from McCabe's cross on 62 minutes. A minute later Finn almost found Sheppard in space in the box and two minutes later the Hoops striker saw his shot deflected for a corner. Another cross from McCabe saw Sheppard stretch to get contact on the ball but he couldn't steer his header on target.
On 74 minutes a Sullivan free-kick saw Foran's header pushed away by Doherty. The Derry 'keeper was then called into the action again when McCabe's corner was headed on by Dennehy but Doherty punched clear under pressure. Derry hit back and when Patterson got the better of Foran on the edge of the box he beat Murphy with his shot but the ball went narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
[GOAL 2:0 - 80th min.] The Candystripes got their second goal when a McNamee free-kick from the right, close to the bye-line, saw McBride get the better of Foran to head past Murphy from close range.
The Hoops desperately tried to get back into the game and Sheppard combined well with Chambers in space just outside the box but Chambers shot wide. On 86 minutes the Hoops almost grabbed a goal when McCabe's low cross into the box saw Sheppard get a touch and Doherty saved with his leg but the ball was still heading in only for a defender to get back to clear off the line.
[GOAL 2:1 - 90th min.] Rovers finally got on the scoresheet when McCabe's corner was cleared out to Stephen Rice on the right-hand side and his low driven shot from outside the box went through a crowd of players and nestled in the left corner of the net.
Rovers piled on the pressure in the three minutes of added-on time and a Chambers corner caused a mini scramble in the Derry box and the ball fell to 'keeper Barry Murphy who had joined the attack, but his shot went across goal and wide. In the dying minutes James Chambers touched on Rice's long ball and Doherty advanced to claim the ball under pressure from Quigley.