St Patrick’s Ath 0, Derry City 2
DERRY City hitman, Rory Patterson netted twice at Inchicore as the Brandywell outfit concluded their successful 2016 campaign with victory over St Patrick’s Athletic.
The Strabane man, who wore the captain’s armband on the night, took his season’s tally to a hugely impressive 20 goals with goals in either half.
With 17 league goals to his name this season, Patterson finishes second in the goalscoring charts - one goal ahead of Dundalk’s leading man, David McMillan.
However, he really could’ve surpassed leading striker, Sean Maguire’s 18 goal tally having enjoyed a flurry of chances in the first half at Richmond Park.
Indeed, he struck the crossbar with a superb effort and had a shot cleared off the line by Rory Feely.
But his clinical strike on 26 minutes from Ben Doherty’s cross and a penalty kick deep into second half stoppage time saw Kenny Shiels’ troops finish off the season with a fourth straight league win against the 10 men Saints.
Shiels had made five changes to the team which secured third place with the win against Sligo Rovers last weekend.
In came goalkeeper, Shaun Patton, Ben Doherty, Niclas Vemmelund, Harry Monaghan and Rory Holden at the expense of Gerard Doherty, Cristian Castells, Lukas Schubert, Aaron McEneff and Ronan Curtis.
Liam Buckley made just the one change with Jamie McGrath coming in for Ciaran Kelly who dropped to the bench.
City’s Danish defender, Vemmelund who returned from suspension had the visitor’s first chance on six minutes when he rose to meet Josh Daniels’ corner but it was some way off target.
Three minutes later Shaun Patton failed to gather Stephen Kinsella’s free kick from wide on left and it bounced off his chest and into the path of Conan Byrne. The experienced Saints ace, seeking his 100th career league goal, sent his follow up shot straight at the City keeper and the chance was lost.
The game had a real end of season ‘dead rubber’ feel about it but Derry looked increasingly threatening as the minutes ticked by.
Harry Monaghan tried his luck from 25 yards but his powerful drive went wide of the target.
Byrne then got above City left back Doherty to attack a cross from the left but he headed over the bar.
Patterson should really have opened the scoring on 24 minutes when he was played through on goal by a beautifully timed pass from Harry Monaghan. The striker side-stepped the challenge of Sean Hoare 16 yards from goal, then rounded goalkeeper, Brendan Clarke but his eventual shot was cleared off the line by Rory Feely.
Sixty seconds later the stand-in skipper made amends with a clinical finish as he stretched to get a foot on Doherty’s cross from the left wing and guided the ball into the corner.
Patterson did brilliantly to get away from Hoare and as Clarke raced out of his goal to close him down the Strabane man’s well executed lob struck the top of the crossbar.
It bounced kindly to Holden who ran into the box unopposed but he misplaced his volley wide with the empty goal at his mercy from eight yards.
It was unfortunately the young midfielder’s last action of the match as he limped off injured and was replaced by Keith Ward five minutes before the break.
Derry could easily have taken a three goal lead into the interval but Patterson was unable to connect to Josh Daniels’ dangerous cross across the six yard box as another chance went begging.
The City hitman was again at the heart of the action as he volleyed Ward’s chipped ball towards the back post into the side netting.
Christy Fagan tested Patton with a strike on the half volley from 20 yards 15 minutes into a scrappy second half but the Derry keeper was equal to it.
St Pat’s pressed for an equaliser in teh closing stages and could have snatched a point at the death but Ian Bermingham fluffed his lines with a free header from six yards.
Feely then received his marching orders for clipping the heels of Patterson as he bore down on goal inside the penalty area.
And the City striker stepped up to slot the resultant penalty kick neatly into the corner.
St Pat’s - B. Clarke; G. O’Brien, R. Feely, S. Hoare, I. Bermingham; C. Byrne (D. McGlade 76), J. Lunney, S. Verdon, S. Kinsella (D. Markey 63); J. McGrath (F. Sual 68) ; C. Fagan; Subs Not Used - D. Corcoran, C. O’Mally, C. Kelly, G. Kelly, F. Sule.
Derry City - S. Patton; C. McDermott (S. Whiteside 90), N. Vemmelund, D. Jarvis; B. Doherty, B. McNamee, H. Monaghan, C. McCormack, J. Daniels (N. Boyle 75); R. Holden (K. Ward 40), R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - G. Doherty, A. McEneff, G. McGlynn, R. Curtis.
Referee - Rob Rogers (Dublin).