League of Ireland: Shamrock Rovers 2-0 Derry City

Shamrock Rovers' Joel Coustrain (left) celebrates his strike with fellow goal scorer Dan Carr
Shamrock Rovers' Joel Coustrain (left) celebrates his strike with fellow goal scorer Dan Carr

Shamrock Rovers have moved clear of Derry City in their battle for fourth place in the Premier Division after a comfortable win over the Candystripes.

After a low-key start to the game, Dan Carr's volley in first-half injury time put Rovers ahead at Tallaght Stadium.

Joel Coustrain bundled home a rebound midway through the second half to seal a deserved victory for the Hoops.

Derry gave a debut to new signing Ben Fisk but they have now lost five of their last six league matches.

Derry boss Kenny Shiels included Fisk in his starting side but the Canadian international winger was unable to inspire his new team-mates to end their poor run of form.

New signing Ben Fisk made his debut for Derry City against Shamrock Rovers
New signing Ben Fisk made his debut for Derry City against Shamrock Rovers

Given the stifling conditions in south Dublin, the game started at a pedestrian pace with neither goalkeeper called into action in the opening 15 minutes.

Carr was unable to hit the target with his first sight of goal before Ger Doherty had to make the first save of the night as he got an important touch on Brandon Kavanagh's goal-bound shot.

Rory Patterson had the best chances for the visitors in the opening half but his long-range effort from a free kick was blocked before he pulled a shot wide of the post after good work by Fisk and Rory Hale.

There was less than a minute of stoppage time remaining in the first half when Rovers took the lead.

Coustrain won possession before whipping in a cross that Eoin Toal was unable to deal with and Carr volleyed into the top corner to send his side into the give his side a deserved lead.

Shamrock Rovers midfielder Ronan Finn is challenged by Derry's Darren Cole and Cathal Farren
Shamrock Rovers midfielder Ronan Finn is challenged by Derry's Darren Cole and Cathal Farren

Gavin Peers replaced Donor McDermott at the centre of the Derry defence in an effort to steady the visitor's backline but any hopes of salvaging a point were dashed shortly after the hour mark when the Hoops doubled their advantage.

Coustrain started the attack before following play into the penalty area and the midfield was on hand to fire home the rebound after Carr's shot was half-blocked by Toal.

Shiels introduced Adrian Delap and debutant Shane McNamee for Ronan Hale and Fisk in an effort to force their way back into contention but it was the home side that went closest to getting another goal when substitute Brandon Miele's shot looped over the crossbar.

The defeat leaves Derry in fifth place in the Premier Division table ahead of their match against Limerick on 6 July and the Candystripes are now three points behind Rovers, who have moved within four points of third-placed Waterford FC.