Ruaidhri Higgins hails Will Patching's 'nerves of steel'
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The former Man City youth came off the bench, clearly with a point to prove against Sligo Rovers and emerged the matchwinner when he netted a 94th minute penalty kick to clinch a timely victory for the Candy Stripes.
Patching has been struggling with tendonitis in his knee which has impacted his performances but after a lengthy lay-off he returned as a 64th minute sub to ensure Derry remain firmly in the league title race, just four points behind Shamrock Rovers going into the European fixtures.
"He was brilliant," beamed Higgins. "He gave the ball away actually the first time he got it but he shook it off and he really had a big say in the end result.
"He's taken a lot of stick, he's listened to a lot of nonsense and he showed real courage deep into added time to step up and put it away. His impact in the game was brilliant and we know what a talent he is because when you have a fit and healthy and happy Will Patching, he's a top player and he just needs to kick on and drive on but it's great to see a smile back on his face.
"Obviously his form dropped off because of that injury but he's been in great spirits these past few weeks. There's a smile back in his face. You can see it in training. I thought he was absolutely brilliant when he came on.
"He had one shot with his left foot, one with his right. He stepped up for the penalty and showed nerves of steel to be fair to him, deep into injury time and it'll be a great lift for him and for us.
"I'm delighted with the way the players applied themselves. We didn't score the first penalty, when we hit the inside of the post we kept going and going and finally got what we deserved."