A strike from Aaron Greene early on in the second period proved the difference between Derry City and St Patrick's Athletic in the Airtricty League Premier Division clash at the Brandywell on Friday night, taking the points back to Dublin.
The first chance of the game fell to Keith Fahey one minute in, as a result of decent build up play by the visitors. He was unable to convert from close range though as Gerard Doherty pulled of a brilliant save to deny the Dubliner.
After this chance for St. Pats, Derry City started getting into the game and tried to make the most of this dominance as Barry McNamee played a through ball to Patrick McEleney. The ball was easily dealt by Saints defender Ian Bermingham though.
As the game approached 10 minutes, Fahey hit his free kick powerfully under the wall but it was cleared by Ryan McBride.
Both sides had chances to break the deadlock, and it was Derry who came close on the 31st minute after what can only be described as a slack Pats back pass. Barry McNamee got on the end of it and sprinted devilishly at Brendan Clarke.
Clarke just got the ball away from his feet, resulting in a corner. The corner was whipped into the box, Sean Houston got on the end of the centre but his effort sailed over the upright. .
In the final moments of the opening half Killian Brennan came close to netting for the visitors, after a long-range free kick. The effort was heading past Doherty but the woodwork denied Brennan from scoring a great goal in a not so great half.
Early in the second half, it was the visitors who took the lead courtesy of an Aaron Greene strike, his first for the Saints.
Irish international Fahey won the ball off Philip Lowry and played a perfect defense splitting pass to the St. Pats forward. Greene unleashed the effort, which nestled in the roof of the net despite Doherty's valiant attempt to keep it out.
Derry City responded to falling by upping the tempo and trying to level the scores. The hard work nearly paid off as superb teamwork between McNamee and Stephen Dooley teed up newly signed Phillip Lowry, but his effort was saved by the ever reliable Clarke.
Dooley then tried to get himself on the score sheet. His thunderous strike looked to have beaten Clarke, but the post denied the former Coleraine man a memorable goal.
Derry City continued to dominate play as they pushed for an equaliser and could have found one when McEleney played a brilliant ball to the other wing. Itwas then whipped into the St Pats box but was unable to find a Derry attacker and St Pats cleared.
Derry should have really been level on the 78th minute after the ball came to McEleney on the edge of the box. He unleashed a brilliant volley towards the bottom right hand corner but Clarke somehow denied the Derryman a wonderful goal, producing a wonderful fingertip save to take the ball into the path of the advancing McNamee, who was unable to find the back of his net as his shot went wide.
With 5 minutes to go, Derry City had a free kick from 25 yards out that was well struck by Barry McNamee, it was heading into the back of the St. Pats goal but was comfortably saved by Clarke.
The Candystripes had a free kick from the far side of the pitch. It was fizzed into the box but unfortunately for the home side it fell straight into the hands of Clarke.
Derry City should feel that they deserved to take something from the game but they were unable to convert the chances they had and to be honest they had enough chances to kill the game off comfortably. They did everything but score. Credit must go to St. Pats for taking their opportunities at goal and defending well.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Shaun Kelly (Nathan Boyle 87), Sean Houston (Ryan Curran 75), Ryan McBride, Dean Jarvis; Barry McNamee, Phillip Lowry, Barry Molloy, Stephen Dooley (Mark Timlin 69); Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy.
Subs not used: Ciaran Gallagher (gk), Josh Tracey, Aaron Barry.
Booked: Phillip Lowry (45), Stephen Dooley (56), Shaun Kelly (84), Ryan McBride (90).
St Patricks Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham; Killian Brennan, Conan Byrne, Keith Fahey (James Chambers 82), Conor McCormack; Christy Fagan, Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (gk), Ken Oman, Mark Quigley, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Chris Forrester, Sam Verdon.
Booked: Ian Bermingham (90+1).
Referee: Padriagh Sutton.
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Aaron Greene (St. Patrick`s Athletic).