League Report: St. Patrick’s Athletic 4 – 1 Derry City
Luke Jordan reports from Richmond Park
Jon Daly and St. Pats made it six wins from seven with an impressive 4-1 win against title challengers Derry City in the sunshine at Richmond Park this Bank Holiday Monday.
The Saints made two changes from their 3-1 win against UCD last Friday. Eoin Doyle and Noah Lewis came into the side with Jason McClelland and Harry Brockbank dropping out.
A major boost for the Athletic was Jay McGrath, despite hobbling off only three days ago, starting in central defence to ease the injury woes for Jon Daly’s men.
Candystripes manager Ruaidhrí Higgins made a quartet of changes to his line up after dropping points once again last Friday against Shelbourne.
Ciaran Coll, Jamie McGonigle, Cameron McJannett, and Adam O’Reilly were all named on the substitute bench. Ryan Graydon, Cian Kavanagh, Shane McEleney, and Sadou Diallo who was back from suspension were all given the nod by the Derry City manager.
St. Pats started the better of the two sides early on, getting a foot on the ball, and having spells of possession. Ben McCormack tried his luck early on with a half volley, but Brian Maher was equal to the effort.
However, Derry began to grow into the game after a slow start. The visitors first sight of goal came after recycling the ball after a Duffy corner was cleared, the ball reached Ronan Boyce who cut in from out wide and found Paddy McEleney who took the shot on, but his effort went harmlessly wide.
Derry looked a real threat out in the wide area with Duffy and Ryan Graydon looking dangerous every time they got on the ball. A fascinating battle between Sam Curtis and Duffy was taking place with the young Saints defender standing up the task well.
Out of nothing the home side were through on goal when Doyle got on the end of a Jay McGrath long punt which evaded the Derry defence. Doyle lifted his shot over Maher but also over the bar to the relief of the Derry back four.
The breakthrough came in the 36th minute, after a spell of possession for the Athletic, the ball was played to McGrath, who stepped forward with the ball as the Derry players dropped off and the former Coventry man took full advantage, hitting a thunderous drive from 25 yards out which Maher in the visitors’ goal to send the Pats fans into delirium.
It could have been two moments later when Shane McEleney dilly-dallied on the ball and was pick pocketed by Conor Carty who set Doyle through one on one with Maher. The Pats striker, to the disbelief to the home fans, misplaced his shot, hitting it straight at the Derry keeper who made the save with his feet. Another let off for the Higgins’ men.
Doyle, who was still rueing his miss minutes earlier almost made up for it instantly, as he hit a volley after it set up perfectly for the striker, but his strike flies over the bar.
Derry City was forced into a change at the break when Michael Duffy went off with a knock and he was replaced by Ollie O’Neill.
From the restart, Pats almost scored again when Conor Carty took a snapshot in the Derry penalty area, his shot took a deflection, and the helpless Maher watched the ball trickle past the post for a corner.
Things soon got worse for Higgins and Derry when Paddy McEleney was forced off again with another injury. The former Dundalk star cannot maintain a consistent run of games without injury.
As the second half kicked off, Derry came out strong, invigorated by the tactical changes implemented by Manager Higgins. Despite their renewed energy, they were caught off guard by a long ball that found its way to Eoin Doyle. Seizing the moment, the veteran striker made no mistake. With deftness that has defined his career, Doyle slipped the ball into the far corner, doubling the Saints' lead to 2-0.
Two minutes later and it was game on once more. After a cross-field ball found Ryan Graydon out on the right hand side, and his cross caused a scramble in the Pats penalty area. The ball eventually fell to the Derry front man Cian Kavanagh, who smashed it into the net past Dean Lyness.
The goals kept coming and Pats retrieved their two-goal lead once more. With McCormack off, Thijs Timmermans took over corner-kick duty and found the run of Chris Forrester who flicked the ball into the back of Maher’s net. That’s four goals from corners the past two games.
St. Pats were looking dangerous on the break as Derry were pushing forward looking for a goal to get back into the match. Adam Murphy again found himself in a great position once again but opted once more for the pass instead of the shot and Derry cleared.
Derry spurned a fantastic opportunity to get themselves a goal to make it an interesting final 15 minutes when a Brandon Kavanagh free-kick found the head of fellow substitute Cameron McJannett but his header just went wide.
The Saints sealed the win when a breakdown in communication after a free-kick by Derry was pounced on by Pats and Mark Doyle burst clear using his speed to get away from the recovering defenders to slot coolly past Maher to make it 4-1.
Late chances fell to Tommy Lonergan and Timmermans to add to the score, but the Saints fans had to settle for the four goals this evening.
A big win for Jon Daly and his side. An excellent team performance which was their first win against the Candystripes in eight games. Also, the first time they’ve scored four goals under the new manager.
For Derry, another disappointing result which sees them gain just one point from a possible nine the last three games. Further concerns for Higgins with Duffy, Paddy McEleney and Dummigan all hobbling off for the visitors. Four points off Shamrock Rovers in first. Bohs up next for Derry in another tough test for his Derry side.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Dean Lyness; Anto Breslin, Sam Curtis, Noah Lewis, Jay McGrath; Conor Carty (Thomas Lonergan 80), Chris Forrester, Jamie Lennon, Ben McCormack (Mark Doyle 63), Adam Murphy (Jason McClelland 74); Eoin Doyle (Thijs Timmermans 64).
Subs not used: David Odumosu, Harry Brockbank, Mason Melia, Darius Lipsiuc, Serge Atakayi.
Booked: Adam Murphy (61).
Sent off: None.
Derry City: Brian Maher; Ronan Boyce, Mark Connolly, Shane McEleney (Cameron McJannet 53); Sadou Diallo (Adam O'Reilly 53), Ben Doherty, Michael Duffy (Oliver O'Neill 46), Cameron Dummigan (Brandon Kavanagh 66), Ryan Graydon, Patrick McEleney (Jordan McEneff 53); Cian Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ciaran Coll, Jamie McGonigle, Sean Patton.
Booked: Shane McEleney (39), Ryan Graydon (82).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Doyle
extratime.com Player of the Match: Jamie Lennon (St. Pats)