The title race is very much on as Derry City made it five league wins in a row with their 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic moving them to within two points of league leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Second half substitute Cian Kavanagh grabbed the only goal of the game as the Candystripes moved within touching distance of league leaders Shamrock Rovers (who play their game in hand over the Derry men in Sligo on Saturday night).
The visitors created a number of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net in the first half as the Saints defended resolutely reducing the visitors to shooting from distance.
The home side really only had the one clear cut chance in the opening half but it was probably the best for either team in the first 45 minutes. That opportunity was Sam Curtis’ close range header on 16 minutes that was pushed out by Brian Maher. Harry Brockbank looked to force it home but referee Derek Tomney blew for a free out.
The number nines for both teams saw little of the ball in the first half. However, unlike Eoin Doyle for the Saints, Jamie McGonigle had Michael Duffy, Patrick McEleney and Will Patching getting up to support him.
Duffy stung the fingers of Rogers before the Saints keeper did exceptionally well to push Patching’s low free kick around the bottom of the post.
That free kick came from a foul by Joe Redmond on Patching when the Saints skipper took him down after he played a delightful one-two with McGonigle, racing towards goal onto a flick.
Just prior to the half time whistle, Patching fizzed a shot just over the bar but the teams went off at the break still deadlocked and with McEleney receiving treatment.
The City captain didn’t return in the second half, replaced by Ryan Graydon, and that certainly took the impetus out of City. They did, however, go close with an early second half free kick from Duffy that flashed across the goal and it seemed Mark Connolly was going to tap home but he couldn’t get a touch on the ball inside the six yard box as he came in at the back post.
A cleverly taken Sam Curtis quick throw allowed Serge Atakayi take on Connolly who took him down wide right. Forrester whipped the free kick in on goal requiring Maher to tip over for a corner kick.
Higgins made a double substitution on 68 minutes as they sought all three points and the switch quickly paid dividends. Duffy’s free kick was flicked on by sub Joe Thomson and Cian Kavanagh drilled a delightful shot by Rogers just two minutes after he’d come onto the pitch.
Pats looked to quickly respond and they came as close as possible to levelling it only for Forrester’s effort to come back out off the butt of the post with Maher beaten.
Tempers flared at the end as both Chris Forrester and Ryan Graydon were shown second yellow cards and were dismissed just before Derek Tomney blew his final whistle.
D Rogers; H Brockbank (B King 73), J Redmond (c), T Grivosti; B Cotter, A O'Reilly, J Lennon, S Curtis; S Atakayi (M Doyle 58), E Doyle (T Owolabi 79), C Forrester.
B Maher; R Boyce, M Connolly, C McJannet, C Coll; S Diallo (J Thomson 68), W Patching (D Lafferty 86), C Dummigan; P McEleney (c) (R Graydon h/t), J McGonigle (C Kavanagh 68), M Duffy.
Derek Tomney (Dublin).