Danny Mullen bags a brace as Derry City return to winning ways against St Pat's

Danny Mullen celebrates putting Derry City in front early in the first half against St Patrick's Athletic. Photograph by Kevin Moore.Danny Mullen celebrates putting Derry City in front early in the first half against St Patrick's Athletic. Photograph by Kevin Moore.
Danny Mullen celebrates putting Derry City in front early in the first half against St Patrick's Athletic. Photograph by Kevin Moore.
Derry City 3 St Patrick’s Athletic 1

Derry City 3(Mullen 16, 57, Hoban 52)

St Patrick's Athletic 1

(Keeley 54)

Derry City striker Danny Mullen celebrates his second goal against St Patrick's Athletic at Brandywell. Photo by Kevin MooreDerry City striker Danny Mullen celebrates his second goal against St Patrick's Athletic at Brandywell. Photo by Kevin Moore
Derry City striker Danny Mullen celebrates his second goal against St Patrick's Athletic at Brandywell. Photo by Kevin Moore

DANNY Mullen bagged a brace as Derry City bounced back with a morale-boosting victory over St Patrick's Athletic at Brandywell.

The Scotsman took his season's tally to five goals with goals in either half to send the Candystripes into third spot, just three points off leaders Shelbourne.

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Mullen, who scored a stoppage time winner on the Saints' last visit to Foyleside back in March, got the ball rolling with a clinical finish on the volley on 16 minutes.

His strike partner Pat Hoban pounced at close range on 52 minutes after Danny Rogers parried Mark Connolly's curling effort into his path.

Jon Daly's men hit back two minutes later with a brilliantly executed overhead kick from Conor Keely.

Derry restored their two goal advantage three minutes after that, however, as Mullen's bullet header from Will Patching's searching free kick nestled into the net.

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Ruaidhrí Higgins' side came into the game on the back of an alarming run of one win in six matches and a demoralising 3-1 loss at the hands of Shamrock Rovers last Friday night.

It was an important win which will breathe new life into the Brandywell club's title charge.

Pat's meanwhile have now gone three games without a win.

The Dubliners made a promising start to the match. Forrester crossed dangerously into the six yard box towards Mason Melia on six minutes and the 16 year-old striker should've done better with his header but directed it safely into the hands of a grateful Brian Maher.

Melia had a chance to make amends moments later from a Brandon Kavanagh corner kick whipped in towards the near post but he couldn't connect fully and it was deflected behind for another corner.

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Despite the Saints early dominance it was City who took the lead on 16 minutes from the home side's first meaningful attack.

Patching worked the ball out to the left towards Doherty who delivered a pinpoint cross into the six yard box. Mullen got away from Anto Breslin far too easily and volleyed it home.

Forrester controlled the ball with a sublime first touch when Jamie Lennon picked out the midfielder's run but the Saints skipper attempted an audacious lob which sailed off target.

Doherty played a short corner to Patching on 31 minutes and the Englishman picked out McMullan in space on the edge of the box but he fired his effort over the crossbar.

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Ex-Candystripe Brandon Kavanagh did brilliantly to skip past Ciaran Coll before curling towards the far corner of the net but Maher did well to get his fingertips to the ball at full stretch to keep Derry's lead intact four minutes before the break.

From a Patching corner kick at the start of the second half Danny Rogers punched it towards the edge of the box and when it fell to McMullan the Scotsman fired narrowly over the bar.

Derry doubled their lead on 56 minutes when Connolly turned his man on the edge of the penalty area before curling towards the back post. Rogers parried it away but it fell to Hoban who reacted quickest and found the far corner of the net.

The visitors were back in the game two minutes later from a corner kick as Keely's overhead kick from eight yards hit the underside of the crossbar and nestled into the net.

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Derry quickly restored their two goal advantage on 57 minutes as Mullen met Patching's free-kick with a powerful header for his fifth goal of the season.

Melia came so close to pulling one back on 65 minutes when he headed over from close range from Forrester's corner.

Forrester tried his luck with a decent effort from 20 yards but Maher scrambled across his goalmouth to parry it clear with seven minutes to go.

That was the best the visitors could create in the final stages as Derry got back to winning ways with a fifth home victory of the campaign.

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Derry City: Maher; Boyce, Connolly, McJannet, Coll; Doherty (Harkin 90), Patching, O'Reilly, McMullan; Mullen (Kelly 84), Hoban; Subs Not Used - Ryan, Duffy, S. McEleney, McGinty, Patton, Barr.

St Patrick's Athletic: Rogers; Turner, Redmond (McLaughlin 17), Keeley, Breslin; Bolger, Lennon (Palmer 69), Bolger. Forrester, Kavanagh (McClelland 83); Melia (C. Kavanagh 83), Keating (Mulraney h-t); Subs Not Used - Pitaluga, Leavy, Pettifer, Nolan.

Referee - Keith O'Sullivan.

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