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Shamrock Rovers beat Derry City on Friday night in a massive top of the table clash in the SSE Airtricity League. In front of a bumper crowd at Tallaght Stadium, a late goal from substitute Danny Mandroiu was the difference between the sides in what was an intense affair.

It was an even opening 20 minutes to the game, with both sides getting a feel for possession but failing to create any clear-cut opportunities at goal. The first real chance fell to Derry forward Jamie McGonigle who’s strike from five yards out was saved brilliantly by Alan Mannus to keep the scores level.

Rovers woke up after that chance and began to control the game, passing the ball around well as they tried to break down the Derry defence.

Rory Gaffney and Richie Towell had half chances towards the end of the first half but nothing to test the opposition goalkeeper Brian Maher. Going in at half-time the score remained 0-0.

The Hoops started the second half well but Mannus was forced into denying former Rovers man Daniel Lafferty who got a shot away for Derry on the counterattack.

Stephen Bradley’s side remained composed and kept pushing, bringing on the fresh legs of Mandroiu and Dylan Watts to stretch the Derry defence.

Bradley’s substitutions paid off as Rovers took the lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Andy Lyons picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and shot, Maher could only parry the ball into the path of Mandroiu who put the ball into the back of the net from five yards.

Rovers held on for the remainder of the game to claim a massive victory, meaning they are now four points clear at the top of the League table

“The fans were electric!”

Speaking to RTE after the game, goal scorer Mandroiu said: “We’re delighted to get the three points.

“Derry were impressive, but we go to the end and we don’t stop until we win.

Hoops manager Bradley also spoke to RTE, he said: “Derry were very good in the first half, we were really poor.

“In the second half we played well for 20/25 minutes and got our reward. We have a strong squad; Danny gave us great energy when he came on.

“The atmosphere was brilliant.”

Up next for the Hoops is an away trip to UCD next Thursday.

Shamrock Rovers: A Mannus, A Lyons, R Lopes, S Gannon (S Kavanagh 55’), S Hoare, C McCann (D Watts 68’), R Towell, R Finn (B Cotter 81’), G Burke, J Byrne; R Gaffney (D Mandroiu 68’).

Subs not used: L Pohls, N Farrugia, G O’Neil, A Emakhu; A Greene.

Booked: N/A

Derry City: B Maher, C Dummigan, D Lafferty, E Toal, R Boyce, S McEleney, B Kavanagh (J Akintunde 67’), J Thomson, W Patching, J McGonigle; M Smith (E McLaughlin 78’).

Subs not used: N Gartside, C Coll, G Storey, O McLaughlin, D McCallion, L Mullen; C Porter.

Booked: R Boyce.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Attendance:  7,126