Derry City slump to another heavy defeat
St Patrick's Athletic 5-2 Derry City
MORE lack lustre defending by Derry City resulted in them conceding a bucket full of goals for the second time this week, at a sun-soaked Richmond Park.
Kenny Shiels' side, who have only picked up one point from their previous four games, were gifted two goals, but they were far too open in both midfield and at the back to capitalise.
Although City looked sharp going forward and missed big chances to increase their lead, the opening 45 minutes was like a basketball game as both teams didn't look solid at the back
However Ben Connolly's decision to award St Pat's a penalty at a crucial point in the game, was a turning point, but it doesn't hide the fact that City again failed to recover when the chips were down.
The Brandywell men made one change to their side which lost heavily to Dundalk, with Rory Hale replacing the injury Ronan Curtis, who dropped to the bench.
The visitors also changed to a 3-5-2 system as they looked to try and tighten things up at the back, but in truth it didn't work.
St Pat's had a half chance on two minutes but Lee Desmond headed over from close range, after Conan Byrne's corner had picked him out.
City broke the deadlock on six minutes following a shocking goalkeeping mistake by Barry Murphy.
The Saints keeper's attempted pass to Jamie Lennon inside the box, was intercepted by Aaron McEneff, he in turn feed the ball to Rory Patterson, to side foot home close range.
To their credit the Dubliners equalised sixty seconds later as Conan Byrne's right wing cross found Jake Keegan, who made no mistake slotting the ball home at the near post.
In what was a frantic opening quarter, Derry took the lead again on 17 minutes as Darren Cole came out from the back to play a one-two with Nicky Low, before seeing his 25 yard strike take a big deflection off Lee Desmond on it's way past Murphy.
Pat's had two chances, which they should have done better, but Thomas Byrne and Darragh Markey failed to really trouble Doherty.
Derry should have added a third when another slick passing move ended with McEneff's sliding effort parried away by Murphy and Jack Doyle's follow-up effort was kept out by the St Pat's net-minder.
In a crazy last few minutes before the break Liam Buckley's side incredibly took the lead and hit the woodwork.
Firstly on 43 minutes Simon Madden's right wing cross was headed against the crossbar by Ryan Brennan and Doherty incredibly was adjudged to have given away a penalty for a push on Brennan inside the six yard box, as he tried to punch the loose ball away.
After City's protests were waved away by the Dublin referee, Conan Byrne made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick, firing low into the net.
Amazingly St Pat's took the lead on 45 minutes as a Conan Byrne right wing corner found Kevin Toner, who out jumped Gavin Peers and headed home to spark wild celebrations amongst the home supporters.
St Pat's should have added a third early in the second half as Thomas Byrne played in his namesake Conan, but the winger's low drive was blocked wide by a diving Eoin Toal.
The home side did add a fourth on 54 minutes as some terrible defending by City resulted in Thomas Byrne firing home.
Centre-back Kevin Toner waltz out from the back before his left footed pass, which travelled low across the pitch for some 15 yards cut out a flat footed Peers to find Byrne, he skipped around Toal and lifted the ball over Doherty.
Doyle went close to pulling one back for City on 75 minutes, as the left-back got in behind the Pat's defence, but his low drive was saved by Murphy.
Ten minutes later McEneff got through a few challenges, but his cross-cum-shot was cleared off the line by Ian Bermingham.
In the closing stages some neat skill by Darragh Markey saw him do a 'Cruyff turn' on the edge of the box to get away from Cole, before unleashing an unstoppable left footed strike whistle into Doherty's bottom left hand corner.
St Patrick's Athletic: Murphy, Madden, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; C Byrne, Lennon, Markey, Brennan, T Byrne (Fagan 73), Keegan.
Derry City: G Doherty; Toal, Peers (McDonagh 62), Cole; McDermott, Rory Hale, McEneff, Low, Doyle; Ronan Hale (Curtis 60), Patterson (B Doherty 70).
Referee: Mr Ben Connolly (Dublin).