DERRY CITY: McEneff at the double

Derry City 2-1 St Patrick's Athletic

Friday, 30th March 2018, 10:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 31st March 2018, 1:15 am
Derry City's Aaron McEneff celebrates his early goal.

It was a Good Friday for Derry City's Aaron McEneff, as his brace was enough to somehow see off St Patrick's Athletic.

The midfielder picked up the man of the match award for his two sublime strikes, which in the end secured the points.

However Liam Buckley's side missed a host of clear cut chances and on another night would have ran out comfortable winners.

City made one change to their side which easily seen of Bray Wanderers a few weeks ago, with Ben Doherty coming into midfield replacing the suspended Nicky Low.

The visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead on four minutes Dean Clarke broke down the left and out paced Darren Cole, but his inch perfect centre was superbly cleared by a super last ditch sliding block by Rory Hale which denied Ryan Brennan, what would have been a tap-in.

City took the lead on nine minutes in super fashion as McEneff charged down Kevin Toner's clearance before picking up the loose ball inside the St Pat's box and he making no mistake blasting home past Barry Murphy.

St Pat's were inches away from levelling things on 23 minutes as Jake Keegan got in behind the City defence, but his low drive was kept out by City keeper Gerard Doherty and Clarke's follow-up effort came back off the crossbar, before City managed to clear their lines.

Liam Buckley's side thought they had equalised from Conan Byrne's resulting corner, but Keegan's effort was rather surprisingly disallowed for dangerous play.

Just before the break another high ball into the City box caused problems but fortunately for the home side Clarke some how dragged his close range strike wide, when he only had Doherty to beat.

The Saints had the first effort in the second half but Jamie Lennon's long range strike was easily gathered by Doherty.

On 53 minutes a neat flick by Ben Doherty fell to Rory Patterson on the edge of the box, but the striker's snap-shot flew just over Murphy's crossbar.

Minutes later another cross into the Derry box meant it was panic stations as Eoin Toal nearly diverted the ball into his own, but Doherty got down well to clear the ball.

Soon after Byrne found himself with some space inside the box after Jack Doyle had been caught out, but the winger fired well over with his weaker left foot.

Just before the hour mark Kenny Shiels made a change as he looked to get his side get a foothold in the game, as he replaced Ben Doherty with David Hopkirk.

City doubled their advantage against the run of play on 73 minutes following a fantastic piece of play.

McEneff picked up possession inside his own half, before feeding Patterson down the right, he feed the ball back to the midfielder on the edge of the box and after skipping away from his marker he made no mistake blasting high past Murphy.

St Pat's were denied a goal on 79 minutes as Owen Garvan's close range strike after a neat passing move, was somehow kept out by a diving Doherty.

The visitors deservedly pulled one back a minute later as another goal mouth scramble ended with Clarke turning the ball home from close range.

On 88 minutes Simon Madden's right wing cross found an unmarked Clarke, but the striker's glancing header was easily saved by Doherty.

Right at the death Patterson should have sealed the points for City, but he somehow fired over from close range, after Ronan Hale's cross-cum-shot had fallen perfectly to him.

Deep into stoppage time Doherty had to make another top draw save, as he raced of his line to parry James Doona's goalbound strike, before Darren Cole got back to clear the loose ball off the line.

Derry City: G Doherty, McDermott, Toal, Cole, Doyle; Rory Hale, McEneff, B Doherty (Hopkirk 59); Curtis, Patterson, Ronan Hale.

St Patrick's Athletic: Murphy, Madden, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; Byrne, Garvan, Brennan (Doona 69), Lennon, Keegan (Fagan 69), Clarke.

Referee: Mr Robert Harvey (Dublin).