St. Pat's Athletic...1
By Arthur Duffy
Derry City treated their fans to a Happy Easter with a third win on the spin at the Brandywell, however, St. Pat's will feel hard done by having failed to get the necessary breaks in front of goal.
Played in front of a bumper crowd, the thrilling game saw Derry midfielder, Aaron McEneff, produce a master class in finishing, two superb strikes from 16 yards presenting the home side with the spoils.
That said, Pat's had dominated the ball for lengthy periods, but the failed to get the rub of the green and the home lot took full advantage in the end.
Derry grabbed the breakthrough they had hoped for in the 9th minute and that strike got the home crowd on its feet.
Following a throw-in, Ronan Curtis carried the ball across the St. Pat's 18 yards line before finding Rory Hale and his pass into the advancing McEneff fashioned the goal.
Without any hesitation, the midfielder produced great technique to crash a dipping shot into the Pat's goal giving keeper, Barry Murphy, no chance.
However, after the goal, the home side had to weather a heavy storm as Pat's owned the ball but failed to get the breaks in front of goal.
In the 20th minute Jake Keegan had a superb chance to equalise but he smashed his shot off the upright before the ball was cleared.
And following the resultant corner, Pat's did force the ball home but referee Rob Harvey controversially disallowed the 'goal' due to a fould on keeper, Doherty.
Pat's huffed and puffed but failed to get the rub of the green in front of goal with Dean Clarke directing a header into the hand of Doherty before the same player failed to control the ball just before the break and another chance was lost.
Conan Byrne clipped an effort over the bar in the 62nd minute as the visitors continued to push forward, Derry happy to hit on the break.
And that ploy worked well for Derry when the doubled their lead in the 74th minute.
Having gained possession, McEneff raced forward and when he sent Patterson scampering clear on the right, the striker returned the ball inside and, as was the case with his first strike, McEneff drove a right foot shot high into the net for another superb finish.
Pat's gained a lifeline in the 80th minute when Dean Clarke finished well from close range after Ger Doherty had spilled a shot from Jamie Lennon to secure a nervous finish for the home lot.
Battle as they did, Clarke could have equalised three minutes from the end, but he failed to get enough power into close range header.
And in injury times Ronan Hale amazingly missed netting Derry's third from point blank range, the winger guiding the ball wide of the target.
However, with the last kick of the game, Derry centre-back, Darren Cole, earned his wages when he whipped the ball off his goal-line to guarantee the victory.
Derry City: Doherty; McDermott, Toal, Cole, Doyle; Ronan Hale, McEneff, Rory Hale, Curtis; Doherty (Hopkirk, 60); Patterson.
St. Pat's Athletic: Murphy; Madden, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; Garvan, Brennan (Doona, 69); Byrne, Lennon, Clarke; Keegan (Fagan, 69).
Referee: R. Harvey (Dublin)