A competitive debut hat-trick from Rory Patterson helped Derry City thrash Lisburn Distillery and almost certainly assure the Candystripes’ safe passage into the next round of the Setanta Cup.
Stephen McLaughlin’s 23rd minute header opened the scoring before new-boy Patterson went on the rampage, bagging a debut goal on the 30th minute before following up with a penalty and header in the second half. The four goal victory means Monday week’s second leg is almost elementary.
The winning margin didn’t flatter the Candystripes as, after a cagey opening, they dominated the game for 80 minutes. However, City were helped by some bemusing decisions from referee Meryvn Smyth. The aforementioned penalty appeared to be for some mild pushing while the official also sent off Distillery left winger David Cushley for a fairly soft dust-up with Ryan McBride.
Despite passing a 9am pitch inspection, the heavy surface made passing football difficult and Derry struggled to adjust in the opening stages. David McDaid did have an early chance – after being played in behind Distillery’s defence, the striker knocked the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Billy Brennan but his touch was heavy and it ran out for a goal kick.
Thereafter however Distillery had the best chances in the opening exchanges and almost took the lead after just five minutes. Whites winger Gary Thompson eluded McBride and raced towards goal from the right but pulled his 15 yard shot across goal.
Distillery did force Gerard Doherty into a save just five minutes later, when Gary Liggett’s shot from a narrow angle forced the Derry keeper into a stop at his near post.
From then on the Candystripes came to life and took control of the game. Their first chance came when a flick on from Doherty’s goal kick allowed Patterson to steal behind the dozing Distillery defence. But with the ball sitting up nicely, the striker overhit the volley and blazed it over the bar.
From there on it was nearly all Derry. In an increasingly entertaining game, Patrick McEleney headed wide from eight yards after 15 minutes and moments later McEleney aimed a long range effort straight at Distillery goalkeeper Brennan.
As the Candystripes began to dominate proceedings, they went in front. Barry Molloy’s through ball found the ever willing Madden free on the right and the new signing’s deep cross allowed McLaughlin to climb above former Derry player Aaron Callaghan and nod past Brennan.
Just seven minutes later City made it two with Patterson’s first goal for the club. McLaughlin’s fine through ball found the former Linfield striker 14 yards out before he skilfully turned chasing defender Simpson leaving a simple finish in the bottom right corner.
Despite appearing comfortable Devine likely encouraged his charges to go for the jugular early in the second half, and his side did exactly that - although they did have some assistance from referee Smyth. An inswinging corner from Patrick McEleney appeared innocuous enough but the official pointed to the spot, apparently for pushing, causing a mass protest from the Distillery players.
Patterson claimed responsibility himself and coolly dispatched the penalty into the top right corner, an emphatic finish.
With the game over as a contest there was still time for a sending off and one more goal. Distillery right winger Cushley got his marching orders in the 55th minute after reacting to a challenge from McBride, though the straight red appeared harsh.
Unsympathetic the Candystripes sealed the game, and Patterson his hat-trick, five minutes later when Madden’s deep cross gave the striker an easy finish at the back post.
Derry City (4-4-2): Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Ryan McBride, Shane McEleney, Matt Crossan; Patrick McEleney, Barry Molloy, Ruaidhri Higgins, Stephen McLaughlin; Rory Patterson, David McDaid.
Replacements: Michael Barr for Madden (82);
Subs: Eugene Ferry; Kevin Deery; Mark Farren; Owen Morrison; James Henry; Michael Barr; Barry McNamee
Lisburn Distillery (4-4-2): Billy Brennan; Aaron Traynor, Philip Simpson, Andrew Ferguson, Aaron Callaghan; David Cushley, David McCullough, Andy Kilmartin, Gary Thompson; Gary Liggett, Neal Gawley.
Replacements: Willie Garrett for Simpson (HT); Jordan Hughes for Gawley (68);
Subs: Andrew Hunter; Willie Garrett; Andy Hall; Jordan Forsythe; Pat McShane; Jordan Hughes.
Referee: Mervyn Smith