Derry City 5, Bray Wanderers 0
A SPECTACULAR Patrick McEleney brace set the Brandywell Stadium alight as Derry City strolled to an impressive five goal victory over a stunned Bray Wanderers to take their winning run to four games.
The in-form 21 year-old rifled a 30 yard shot into the top corner of the Bray net on 11 minutes to get City up and running and there was no signs of weariness from the Candy Stripes’ European exertions four days previously.
It really was a special strike and the City playmaker must now have at least three nominations for the league’s ‘goal of the season’ accolade.
And his second strike on the night wasn’t too shabby either!
Indeed, the Shantallow man showed great composure and an immaculate first touch to take down Rory Patterson’s outstanding volleyed pass from the halfway line before deftly lobbing the ball over the head of Bray keeper Stephen McGuinness on 32 minutes. It was a neat finish but it was all about the pass and vision from Patterson.
Derry had strolled into a 2-0 first half lead and Patterson was the star of the show in the second half as the home side continued to dominate.
Patterson, who netted a hat-trick in the 0-5 win against Aberystwyth Town in Wales, took his season tally to 11 goals in all competitions with a well taken brace before Derry City debutante, Stephen Dooley then completed the rout for Peter Hutton’s troops with goal in the final minute of what was a one-sided affair on Foyleside.
It was a bright opening to the match with both sides creating chances; Patterson dragging his shot from the edge of the area harmlessly wide while Ismahil Akinade blasted his effort just wide of the upright.
But it was a special strike which broke the deadlock on 11 minutes as McEleney rifled his shot into the top corner of the Bray net from 30 yards - a goal good enough to grace the World Cup Final according to Derry boss, Peter Hutton afterwards.
That was his fifth goal of the season in all competitions and it ranked right up alongside those memorable strikes at Bohemians and Athlone Town earlier this season.
McEleney put daylight between the sides on 32 minutes when he controlled Patterson’s outstanding cross-field ball from the halfway line, before delicately lobbing the Bray keeper with his next touch. It was an excellent finish but it the goal was all about Patterson’s superb pass on the volley.
Just before the interval Patterson tested the goalkeeper with a well struck free-kick from right on the edge of the penalty area but Bray keeper, Stephen McGuinness parried it clear.
Bray probably should have reduced the deficit 10 minutes after the break Jake Kelly drilled his cross into the Derry penalty area and when the ball broke to Shane O’Neill eight yards from goal, he put his shot over the bar.
One minute later and McEleney missed a glorious opportunity to complete his hat-trick when he got onto the end of Patterson’s slide-rule pass six yards from goal but his tame side-footed effort was saved by McGuinness before it was put behind for a corner.
Kelly send a curling free-kick into the side netting for Bray on the hour mark as the visitors continued to press forward. However, their hopes of a comeback were over on 62 minutes when Michael Duffy burst through the Bray defence, laid it off to McEleney who found Patterson unmarked at the back post. And the striker was gifted the easiest of tap-ins for his fourth goal in two successive games.
Patterson netted his second of the afternoon on 72 minutes when striking the ball into the net on the half volley from a corner kick.
Dooley then netted the game’s final goal in the final minute as he got on to the end of Philip Lowry’s deflected shot and drilled into the bottom corner to complete the rout and make it 10 goals in four days for Hutton’s men.
Derry City: G. Doherty; D. Jarvis (P. Lowry 50), S. McEleney, A. Barry, D. Ventre; M. Duffy (J. Tracey 72), B. Molloy, B. McNamee, M. Timlin (S. Dooley 72), P. McEleney; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - S. Dunlop, R. Curran, N. Boyle, T. McNamee.
Bray Wanderers: S. McGuinness, N. Cooney, D. Cassidy, S. O’Neill (G. McDonagh 65), G. Kelly, G. Curran (R. Coombes 65), D. Scully, D. Zambra, S. O’Connor, J. Kelly, I. Akinade; Subs Not Used - S. Redmond, S. Hurley, M. Brown, C. Byrne.
Referee - Paul Tuite (Dublin)