St Patrick’s Athletic 0, Derry City 1
BARRY McNamee’s second half strike at Richmond Park proved enough for Derry City to reclaim second spot in the Airtricity Premier Division.
It was the Ramelton man’s third goal of the season and his second in the space of five days as he poked the ball past Brendan Clarke on 63 minutes to give the Candy Stripes a narrow win over St Pat’s.
There was controversy with seven minutes to go as referee, Tomas Connolly pointed to the spot when Ger O’Brien went down under the challenge of Ronan Curtis.
However, he was quickly overruled by his assistant who waved for a St Pat’s free-kick on the edge of the area.
In the end Kenny Shiels troops did just enough to get back on the winning trail in the league.
It was a laborious start to the game as neither side took control of the opening stages.
Rory Patterson had Derry’s first half chance of the game on 10 minutes when his deflected shot looped over the head of Brendan Clarke but went wide of the post.
The lively Keith Ward then brought down Curtis’ cross from the left on his chest before attempting an acrobatic overhead which went over the bar from 12 yards on 19 minutes.
Mark Timlin tried his luck 60 seconds later with a low left footed strike which deflected off the foot of Ryan McBride and went behind for a corner kick.
Aaron McEneff laid the ball off to ex Pat’s midfielder, Conor McCormack on 28 minutes but his strike from 25 yards was saved comfortably by Clarke.
Ward whipped in a dangerous cross on 37 minutes and found Patterson who laid it into the path of Curtis but the winger’s strike was put behind by an excellent recovery tackle by O’Brien.
From the resultant corner, Niclas Vemmelund’s strong header went over the bar.
The home side’s best chance of the half arrived three minutes before the break after a sublime ball over the top from Timlin but Conan Byrne’s shot on the volley went wide of the target,
David Cawley had the Saints’ first shot on target one minute later but his long distance strike was gathered cleanly by Doherty.
Derry were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from the Saints goal three minutes after the restart and Ward teed up Patterson whose powerful drive was parried clear by Clarke at full stretch. McNamee blasted the rebound high over the bar from an acute angle.
St Pat’s defender, Ian Bermingham claimed he was dragged to the ground inside the Derry penalty area after what appeared to be a tangle of legs and the referee waved play on.
And from a quick break away, the ball broke nicely to McNamee who drilled his shot narrowly wide.
But the midfielder found his range two minutes later when he got on to the end of a lovely touch from Patterson and poked the ball home from 12 yards for his third goal of the season.
Patterson was presented with a glorious chance to seal the win on 75 minutes when he found himself on- on-one with the St Pat’s keeper but Clarke deflected his shot over the bar.
Moments later McCormack fizzed his shot towards goal and Clarke dived to gather the ball.
Substitute Dylan McGlade got in behind Aaron Barry with 10 minutes to go but he dragged his shot across goal and wide as time was quickly running out for the home side.
O’Brien went down under the challenge of Curtis with seven minutes left on the clock and referee, Tomas Connolly pointed to the spot but was quickly overruled by his assistant and Derry held on for the win.
St Pat’s: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Darren Dennehy, Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham; Billy Dennehy (Dinny Corcoran 78), Conan Byrne (Dylan McGlade 66), David Cawley (Shane McEleney 85), Graham Kelly, Mark Timlin; Jamie McGrath; Subs Not Used - Patrick Jennings, Michael Barker, Lee Desmond, Sam Verdon.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty: Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Patrick McClean; Conor McCormack, Aaron McEneff; Ronan Curtis (Nathan Boyle 89), Barry McNamee, Kieth Ward; Rory Patterson; Subs Not Used - Mark McElhinney, Jordan Allen, Josh Daniels, Gareth McGlynn, Ryan Doherty, Dean Jarvis.
Referee - Tomas Connolly (Dublin)