Macdara Ferris reports from Richmond Park
Derry City bounced back from the disappointed of their restart defeat at home to Sligo Rovers to gain a well-earned three points against St. Patrick’s Athletic in Inchicore on Bank Holiday Monday.
Two second half goals – the first from James Akintunde and the second from captain Conor McCormack – were the difference on the night.
The positive vibe gained by Pat’s after their 1-1 draw against Dundalk last Friday was dissipated by a performance that lacked the pressure and effort we saw against the Champions three days previously.
In addition to the new customary norm of the players kneeling before kick off in support of Black Lives Matter, there was a poignant minute silence in honour of John Hume who died earlier in the day – a man who in addition to his political palmares was President of his home town club.
When the action got underway there was plenty of endeavour but very little penetration on the pitch. The biggest action was outside of Richmond Park as a few fans took up a position outside the stadium to watch the game but the Gardaí dropped across and sent those supporters on their way.
Stephen O’Donnell handed Georgie Kelly his debut for the Saints but the striker’s best contribution was probably his defensive header from Gerardo Bruna’s whipped free kick from out wide into the box.
Bruna was on corner duty for Derry on the right and his delivery could have been better but the Saints structure for defending set pieces was enough for them to keep a first half clean sheet.
Joe Thomson’s curling effort just by Brendan Clarke’s goal and a Walter Figueira shot from distance were as good as the visitors came in the opening half but it was more than Pat’s could create.
An early shot from outside the area from Saints captain Robbie Benson was the only thing to really trouble Peter Cherrie although Rory Feely could have done better with a back post header from a deeply hit Jamie Lennon free.
Having been the better team in the first half, five minutes into the second the Candystripes took the lead. Colm Horgan and Jack Malone linked up and when the ball came to James Akintunde he finished by a static Saints defence.
O’Donnell made a number of changes as he tried to get his team back into the game including bringing on Chris Forrester and Martin Rennie in place of Kelly who was disappointing on debut.
However it was City who got the next goal as McCormack struck with a beautifully hit shot. He came onto Figueira’s centre on the edge of the box and he curled his low effort by the outstretched hand of Clarke.
Even with the low numbers in the stadium in this behind closed door fixture, there were plenty of groans from those of a Pat’s perspective around Richmond Park when that second goal went in. The Candystripes did enough in the remaining 18 minutes to keep their clean sheet – although Rennie missed a couple of guilt edge chances in the injury time – but Derry had done enough to deservedly claim all three points.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Luke McNally Lee Desmond; David Titov (Jason McClelland h/t), Jamie Lennon (Darragh Burns 75), Dan Ward (Chris Forrester 52), Robbie Benson ©, Shane Griffin; Jordan Gibson (Darragh Markey 75), Georgie Kelly (Martin Rennie 63).
Subs not used: Conor Kearns (gk), Ian Bermingham.
Booked: David Titov (21), Dan Ward (27), Rory Feely (67).
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Colm Horgan, Ally Gilchrist, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Coll; Conor McCormack (c); Joe Thomson, Jack Malone (Conor Clifford 89), Gerardo Bruna (Stephen Mallon 66), Walter Figueira (Ciaron Harkin 84); James Akintunde.
Subs not used: Nathan Gartside (gk), Ronan Boyce, Mark McChrystal, Darren Col;
Booked: Ally Gilchrist (32).
Referee: Rob Hennessy
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Walter Figueira (Derry City)