More Tolka spark for Derry as Ryan Graydon goal puts City on top

Shelbourne 0 Derry City 1

Ryan Graydon of Derry City celebrates after scoring what proved to be the match-winner against Shelbourne at Tolka Park. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

With a regularity that delights the away side and pains the home team, Derry City came up with the most predictable outcome possible from their trip to Tolka Park and marched back to the top of the league table.

In three successive league fixtures away to Shelbourne, Derry have now taken a 1-0 win back north, this latest victory, secured by an early goal – a soft one at that – from Dubliner Ryan Graydon.

Shels will rue three key moments in the game where they had only themselves to blame: the sloppy defending in the box which gifted Graydon the easiest goal of his career; a stunning miss by sub Kian Leavy late in the first half when he had the goal at his mercy; and a red card for defender Paddy Barrett, for a second bookable offence which forced Shels to play the last 40 minutes with 10 men.

On a wet night and on a boggy pitch, for Derry this was more about carving out a gritty win than playing champagne football, as apart from that 11th-minute gift to Graydon, they struggled to trouble Conor Kearns in the Reds goal.

Yet Derry had shown their potential threat as early as the second minute when the Reds needed a goal-line clearance from JR Wilson to deny Jamie McGonigle his second goal of the season.

It took City until only the 11th minute to get their goal.

When Will Patching floated in a corner-kick, Graydon was allowed to escape the clutches of his marker, Matty Smith, and tap home – slack defending that would have distressed manager Damien Duff.

It was almost 2-0 on 15 minutes, only for Kearns to deny Ben Doherty with a good save.

Shels had been subdued up to that point but midway into the first half, they found their feet. Smith should have done better on 26 minutes when a cross by Shane Farrell put him in a scoring position.

Shels also wasted a chance on 33 minutes. A brilliant run by Jack Moylan saw him leave defender Shane McEleney in his wake.

Brian Maher did well to save Moylan’s shot but when the rebound fell to sub Leavy in the box, he somehow blazed the ball over the bar.

Shels, who lost full-back Wilson to injury early in the first half, made two changes at the break – Mark Coyle and JJ Lunney were summoned from the bench.

But their plan for a fightback was in tatters five minutes after the restart when a foul by Barrett on McGonigle earned him his second booking.

Duff’s side had not given up and Smith put in a fine shot on 57 minutes which tested former team-mate Maher.

Despite their numerical advantage, Derry struggled to create.

Their attack only resurfaced on 83 minutes when Kearns was called on to save from Ben Doherty, while Shels had an injury-time penalty call ignored by ref Paul McLaughlin.

Shelbourne: Kearns; Barrett, Byrne (Coyle 46), Griffin; JR Wilson (Leavy 24), Smith, Molloy, Caffrey (Lunney 46), T Wilson (Ledwidge 80); Farrell, Moylan (Robinson 80).

Derry City: Maher; Coll, S McEleney, McJannet, Doherty; Diallo (Boyce 80), P McEleney; Graydon, Patching, O’Neill (McEneff 63); McGonigle (C Kavanagh 89).

Referee: P McLaughlin.