European race to go down to the wire as Derry City defeated by St Pat's
Derry City 1 St Patrick's Athletic 3
SUPER SUB, James Doona's five minute brace breathed new life into St Pat's Europa League hopes as the Saints came from behind to clinch a crucial victory at Brandywell.
The race for European football will go right down to the wire with the Saints now just two points behind the Candystripes going into the final day.
It was the 100th league meeting between the teams and the Dubliners came into the clash with an outside chance of clinching the fourth European slot.
And those slim hopes were dashed on 52 minutes when David Parkhouse slotted home from close range for his 19th goal of the season in all competitions.
However, man of the match, the influential Chris Forrester fired the Saints level 10 minutes later as City defender, Ally Gilchrist failed to clear his lines.
The game was then turned on its head when Doona came off the bench to register that quickfire double as he finished clinically after twice hitting City on the counter.
Derry had needed a single point to ensure European football returns to Foyleside next year for the first time since 2018 but now must secure at least a point against north west rivals, Finn Harps at Brandywell on Friday night to seal the deal.
Devine had kept faith with the team which came from behind to clinch a vital victory over Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds last Saturday for the visit of the Saints. However, midfielder, Gerardo Bruna returned from a hip injury to take his place among the substitutes.
Derry started on the frontfoot and from a David Parkhouse cross from the left on two minutes Ally Gilchirst rose highest in a crowded penalty area but his header was tipped over the crossbar by Brendan Clarke.
Jamie McDonagh whipped in a dangerous cross from the right on seven minutes and when Junior laid it into the path of Parkhouse, the striker's shot was blocked superbly by Lee Desmond 12 yards from the Saints goal.
It was an encouraging, high energy start from the home side as they refused to allow the Dubliners to settle.
The Saints worked the ball well down the left flank and when Ronan Hale played the overlapping Ian Bermingham into space just inside the penalty area but he blasted wide.
St Pat's threatened again from a corner kick and centre half, Ciaran Kelly really should;ve done better when he sent a free header wide of the target on 16 minutes.
It was another defender who threatened to break the deadlock moments later. This time Derry's Gilchrist got his head to McDonagh's free-kick as Clarke came flapping but the effort went harmlessly over.
The first half was devoid of any real clear-cut chances and a frustrated Ciaron Harkin attempted an audacious chip from 40 yards which sailed past the Pat's post.
Derry hit the front seven minutes into the second half following a sweeping move which began with a superb pass from Ciaron Harkin which sent Ciaran Coll scampering down the left flank. The left back burst through the Pat's defence and as Clarke came out of his goal to close down the angle, Coll rolled in into the path of the unmarked Parkhouse who bundled the ball into the net.
That lead didn't last long. Ten minutes, in fact, as Gilchrist failed to clear a cross into the Derry box and when it fell to Forrester the midfielder had time to take a touch before drilling it into the bottom corner - his second of the season.
Derry upped the tempo going into the final 10 minutes and after aneat build-up involving Harkin and Junior, McDonagh sent an enticing ball
The Saints broke quickly as substitute Doona got in behind a Derry defence which were caught napping and fired across Chedrrie and into the far corner to give the visitors the lead just four minutes after coming off the bench.
And Doona found himself through on goal once again after Derry lost possession and he showed composure to take it past McDonagh before burying his shot into the net to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Derry were stunned and now must clinch at least a point against Harps in four days time with St Pat's travel to Oriel Park looking to keep their European hopes alive.
DERRY CITY: P. Cherrie: G. Gillespie (D. McCauley 63), E. Toal, A. Gilchrist, C. Coll: J.Ogedi-Uzokwe, G. Sloggett, C. Harkin (M. McCrudden 83), J. McDonagh; B. McNamee (G. Bruna 76); D. Parkhouse: Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, A. Delap, R. Boyce., C. Davis.
St PAT's: B. Clarke; D. Clarke, L. Desmond, C. Kelly, I. Bermingham; D. Markey (J. Doona 76), C. Coleman (C. Clifford 62), J. Lennon, C. Forrester; R. Hale;, G. Shaw (J. Walker 69): Subs Not Used - B.Murphy, S. Madden, G. McAuley, R. McCabe.
Referee - Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).