Derry City: Patterson winner against Pat's boosts Candystripes' European hopes
Derry City boosted their hopes of a European spot as Rory Patterson’s late goal earned a 2-1 win over St Pat’s.
Ally Roy netted for the Candystripes on three minutes but Ryan Brennan levelled on 34 minutes after Conan Byrne had rattled the Derry woodwork.
Amid drama, Derry keeper Gerard Doherty saved a Killian Brennan spot-kick before Patterson’s 88th-minute winner.
St Pat’s Ian Bermingham and Thomas Byrne were sent off in the closing seconds with Derry’s Eoin Toal.
This followed a fracas in the Derry penalty area.
Substitute Patterson’s goal came with his first touch shortly after his introduction following great work by Aaron McEneff.
Shiels had described game as ‘must-win’
After a run of eight defeats in their previous 11 Premier Division matches, Derry boss Kenny Shiels had described Friday’s contest as “must-win” for their seemingly fading hopes of securing European football.
However with third-placed Waterford losing 2-1 in Limerick, the Candystripes are now only five points off the final automatic European spot after winning the first in a series of four straight home games.
Defeat would have also dropped Derry to sixth place in the table but they now have a six-point cushion over the Dublin club.
Shiels has described being forced to travel to Cork for Monday’s game against the champions as “cruelty” coming so soon after last week’s long Europa League trip to Belarus.
Derry had looked exhausted in the 5-0 defeat at Turner’s Cross but they made a fast start in Friday’s contest as recent signing Roy ran on to a long ball over the Pat’s defence before superbly firing past Brendan Clarke.
Rory Hale went close to doubling Derry’s lead with a fierce shot on 12 minutes but Pat’s then came more into the contest with Byrne hitting the woodwork after McEneff had given the ball away.
With Pat’s looking threatening on both Derry’s defensive flanks, Brennan’s 34th-minute equaliser was no surprise as he tapped home after Ian Bermingham had knocked back a deep Byrne cross into the six-yard box.
Doherty penalty save the turning point
After the resumption, both sides went close with Byrne forcing a fine save out of Doherty before Pat’s keeper Clarke denied Ronan Hale and Ben Fisk at the other end.
The game’s decisive moment appeared to have arrived on 82 minutes when Fisk was adjudged to have hauled down former Candystripe Simon Madden but Doherty saved the weak penalty from another ex-Derry player Killian Brennan.
Byrne then looked certain to put Pat’s ahead two minutes later after rounding Doherty but Jamie McDonagh somehow got back to make an heroic block on the line.
Incredibly, Patterson restored Derry’s lead two minutes from the end of normal time before flared tempers led to the three red cards in injury-time.
Even with their nine men, Pat’s almost snatched a point in the closing seconds as Derry defender Danny Seaborne sliced an attempted clearance off his own post but the home side held on much to the delight of their vocal fans who celebrated heartily at the final whistle.
Source: BBC SPORT NI