SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
A debut goal from new signing James Akintunde and a second from captain Conor McCormack got Derry City’s season back up and running at Richmond Park.
Declan Devine’s visitors empathically exorcised the ghosts of Friday’s disappointing home defeat to Sligo Rovers as they showed more energy and desire than St Pat’s who were a shadow of the side that earned a point at champions Dundalk the same night.
Having observed a minute’s silence in memory of club president John Hume, Derry started a little sluggishly with goalkeeper Peter Cherrie worked inside six minutes.
St Pat’s skipper Robbie Benson found the target from just outside the area with a crisp drive to force the save in what would prove the main note of a fitful first half.
Much improved from Friday’s disappointing home loss to Sligo Rovers, Derry played their way into the game, troubling the home goal for the first time on 20 minutes when midfielder Joe Thompson swivelled to curl a shot not far wide after probing play between McCormack and Akintunde.
Walter Figueira then drilled narrowly past Brendan Clarke’s right-hand post as Derry’s work-rate continued to frustrate St Pat’s.
Though they enjoyed decent spells of possession, St Pat’s had plenty of food for thought at the interval with manager Stephen O’Donnell duly making a change when introducing Jason McClelland to replace the ineffective David Titov on the right of midfield.
It mattered little, as Derry’s general pattern of the first half was maintained with their deservedly taking the lead four minutes into the second half.
Right-back Colm Horgan got forward down the right to combine with Jack Malone whose low cross was swept low past Clarke to the far corner of his net by Akintunde.
St Pat’s needed a response and a bout of pressure almost delivered it seven minutes later as Cherrie had to be fully alert to tip away an in-swinging shot from Jordan Gibson.
McClelland then blasted just over as St Pat’s searched for a cutting edge which didn’t materialise before Derry struck for their killer second goal on 72 minutes.
Figueira set up McCormack who picked his spot sublimely from 20 yards out.
St Pat’s rallied late on but couldn’t beat Cherrie who saved brilliantly on two occasions from substitute Martin Rennie.