Derry City toppled from top spot as St Pat's earn stalemate at Brandywell

Derry City 0 St Patrick's Athletic 0

By Simon Collins
Monday, 9th May 2022, 9:49 pm
Updated Monday, 9th May 2022, 9:53 pm
The alert Joseph Anang gets to the ball ahead of Danny Lafferty during Monday night's top of the table clash at Brandywell. Photo by George Sweeney.
The alert Joseph Anang gets to the ball ahead of Danny Lafferty during Monday night's top of the table clash at Brandywell. Photo by George Sweeney.

DERRY CITY relinquished top spot in the Premier Division table as they were held to a scoreless draw by St Patrick's Athletic at Brandywell.

Champions Shamrock Rovers' convincing win against Sligo Rovers at Tallaght saw the Dubliners move one point ahead on the summit having trailed by six points just four weeks ago.

It was a frustrating night for Ruaidhri Higgins' troops who did everything but find the net against a Saints team who had learned valuable lessons from their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Derry 10 days ago.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Derry City striker Jamie McGonigle pictured in action against St Pat's in the first half at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Photograph by George Sweeney.

Joseph Anang was a superb form and the closest Derry came was when substitute Patrick McEleney crashed a long range shot off the foot of the post late in the second half.

It was a second successive draw for Derry on Foyleside which gave Rovers the upper hand ahead of a crunch clash at Tallaght on Friday night.

Higgins made two changes from the team held 1-1 at home to Bohemians on Friday night as Patrick McEleney and Cameron McJannet were replaced by Joe Thomson and Danny Lafferty.

St Pat's also made two changes from the 4-0 win against Drogheda with Darragh Burns and Ben McCormack dropping to the bench. Mark Doyle and Jay McClelland replaced them in the starting line-up.

Saints keeper Joseph Anang saw plenty of action in the opening 45 minutes. When Patching floated in a corner kick on seven minutes, Lafferty's looping header needed to be tipped over the crossbar by the West Ham United loanee.

Moments later ex-Saints striker Smith burst forward down the left flank before crossing low towards the near post but with McGonigle poised to strike Tom Grivosti produced a vital tackle to turn it behind.

Smith tested Anang once again on 14 minutes but the visiting keeper smothered his shot from outside the box.

Brandon Kavanagh then latches onto the ball from McGonigle in a promising position just inside the St Pat's penalty area but his curling strike went harmlessly high over the bar.

Shane McEleney should've done better with his towering header from Patching's corner on 23 minutes but the big defender sent it over.

Derry were dominating the ball and almost capitalised from a quick break as Kavanagh found the run of McGonigle with a terrific pass and the striker's low shot was turned behind at full stretch by Anang,

From the resultant corner Eoin Toal headed goalwards but it was straight at Anang who fisted it clear on 38 minutes.

It was a totally dominant first half performance from the hosts but they weren't able to find a way through a Saints defence who clearly learned valuable lessons from that heavy defeat when the teams last met.

The Inchicore men, who were 3-0 down at the break in the reverse fixture at Richmond Park, failed to register a single shot on target.

However, Tim Clancy would have been pleased to go in at the interval with the game scoreless.

It was much of the same at the start of the second half with Derry very much in the ascendancy.

Ten minutes into the half Toal clipped a ball into the box and McGonigle's glancing header was gathered cleanly by Anang.

Derry were pushing for the opener and on 61 minutes McGonigle's 12 yard goalbound strike was blocked bravely by Grivosti. The rebound fell to Dummigan whose shot was deflected over the crossbar.

News filtered through to the stands that Shamrock Rovers had raced into a 2-0 lead against Sligo Rovers with 20 minutes remaining as the crowd grew anxious.

Five minutes after coming off the bench Patrick McEleney latched on to the ball 25 yards from goal and struck the foot of the post with a shot that had Anang beaten.

St Pat's first real chance of the game arrived on the break on 78 minutes as Eoin Doyle squared the ball to Forrester 10 yards from the Derry goal. The Saints skipper tried to place it into the corner but sent it wide of the post.

Derry had a chance to win it on 82 minutes after a quick counter from a corner kick but when Kavanagh found McGonigle on the right his shot was saved by Anang.

McGonigle again fired over the crossbar on the volley inside the box as the home crowd's frustration grew.

Patrick McEleney was then substituted less than 20 minutes after coming off the bench as he sustained an injury.

Four minutes of stoppage time was signalled as Derry pressed desperately for a winner which never materialised.

Derry City: Maher: Boyce, McEleney, Toal, Lafferty; Kavanagh, Dummigan, Patching, Smith (Akintunde 67); Thomson (P. McEleney 67, McLaughlin 86); McGonigle: Subs Not Used - Gartside, Coll, Storey, Porter, McCallion, Mullan.

St Pat's: Anang; Curtis, Redmond, Grivosti, Breslin; King, O'Reilly, McClelland (Burns 59), M. Doyle (Robinson 65); Forrester; E. Doyle; Subs Not Used: Odumosu, Scott, Bermingham, McCormack, Fay, Corbally.

Referee: Rob Hennessy.