DERRY CITY match-winner, Rory Patterson has clearly mastered the art of making a late impact insisting his record speaks for itself when it comes to scoring goals.
The 31 year-old Strabane man netted the winning goal in Wexford on Easter Saturday night to take his 2016 tally to an impressive four goals in five games and he believes his early season form is proving pre-season doubters wrong!
The dramatic stoppage time header was, incredibly , his 65th club goal in 98 appearances as he continues to prove he’s far from a spent force in the League of Ireland.
Many questioned Kenny Shiels’ decision to bring him back to Brandywell for a second spell after 12 months spent playing in Australia and England.
And already this season he’s proven his worth in front of goal, scoring against Finn Harps, Bray (twice) and Wexford and he’s clearly been working harder than ever.
Sporting a cut above his left eye following a clash of heads with Lee Grace 10 minutes into Saturday’s match, Patterson claimed he has nothing to prove regarding his fitness and goalscoring prowess.
Josh is one of the nicest kids I’ve met and it’s just heartbreaking. It’s been hard on us all. We didn’t want to come down here, six and half and hours and roll over.Rory Patterson
“I know where I’m at,” he said. “I’m 31 years-old and it’s not like I was locked away doing nothing when I was away,” he smiled. “I was playing football. I don’t do anything in the off-season, I use it purely to rest up. I’ve done that anywhere I went.
“But I don’t think anyone can challenge my fitness. I always have looked after myself. When I was here before, my injuries weren’t properly looked after which was probably a fault of my own.
“I was sometimes playing with just one good leg and sometimes I shouldn’t have been playing. But that’s the kind of person I am - if I can get out there, I will and that’s come back to haunt me a bit.
“If you look at my record I’ve played something like 90 games in three years so I’m not sure why people associate me with being injury-prone, but you can’t please everybody. I’ve 65 goals in not even 100 games so I don’t know what else people want.”
Patterson did magnificently well to rise majestically and send a looping header from a ridiculous angle over the head of Wexford keeper, Graham Doyle and into the far corner of the net to give Derry a deserved 2-1 win at Ferrycarrig Park.
Saturday’s winning goal was Patterson’s third stoppage time strike of the season. He scored a consolation goal against Finn Harps on the opening day on 92 minutes, completed his brace in the 3-0 win at Bray in stoppage time and clinched victory in Wexford with that well executed header with 94 minutes on the clock - the last action of the match!
And he believes it’s no coincidence but simply a result of the meticulous work on the training pitch and the manager’s attention to detail.
“We have it in the legs this year with the help of Pearse (Lafferty) and Mickey (Hegarty), I don’t think there are many better backroom staffs in the league.
“The manager’s attention to detail is excellent, he covers everything and every strength and weakness. We know ourselves we’re not playing great but in any other Derry team I’ve played in we didn’t really have that much character to come back. It’s brilliant and obviously we’re up there at the top of the table which is great after the disappointment of the first week. We couldn’t have responded any better.”
We did it for Josh!
Patterson was delighted to come away from Ferrycarrig Park with the result after the ‘heartbreaking’ events of the previous week.
“It’s been tough,” added the striker. “I can’t put it into words. It wasn’t our family but we all felt it. Josh is such a nice kid. You hear that a lot but it’s actually true about Josh. He’s one of the nicest kids I’ve met and it’s just heartbreaking.”
“It’s been hard on us all. We didn’t want to come down here, six and half and hours and roll over. We have to be strong and be strong for Josh as well when he comes back and look after him.”