St Pat's close the gap on frustrated Derry CIty with victory in Inchicore
St Patrick's Athletic 1 Derry City 0
DERRY CITY slumped to a fifth defeat of the season as a first half Kevin Toner header secured victory for St Patrick's Athletic which moved the Saints to within a single point of the Candy Stripes. who remain in fourth.
The Saints centre half atoned for his sending off in the 3-1 defeat to Derry at Richmond Park on April 15th last by heading in from Mikey Drennan's corner kick but it proved a controversial goal as Toner's marker, Greg Sloggett was ordered off the pitch by referee, Sean Grant to receive treatment for a bloodied nose moments before the set-piece was taken.
The defeat means Declan Devine's troops have now registered just one win in their last eight league matches as they failed to make ground on third placed Bohemians yet again.
However, the City boss will be scratching his head wondering how his side didn't rescue at least a point from this encounter on Inchicore as they bossed almost the entirety of the second half with Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe missing several gilt-edged chances.
Just three days after the scoreless draw in Sligo, Devine opted to make three changes to his starting XI. In came Conor McDermott, Gerardo Bruna - scorer of a magnificent strike on his last visit to Richmond Park - and winger, Adrian Delap.
Eoghan Stokes, who sustained an ankle injury in the stalemate at the Showgrounds missed out while skipper, Barry McNamee and Jamie McDonagh both dropped to the bench.
Long term absentee, Patrick McClean (thigh) also missed out while Ally Gilchrist returned from a hamstring injury to take a place on the subs' bench.
Interestingly, talented U19 midfielder, Jack Malone was promoted to the bench for the first time while Sloggett wore the captains' armband for the first time in the absence of McNamee.
Saints boss, Harry Kenny made just the one change from the team which drew 1-1 with Bohs last Friday night with Rhys McCabe in for the injured Conor Clifford while Lee Desmond - scorer of that stunning equaliser at the Brandywell earlier this month - and Dean Clarke missed out once again through injury.
Both teams came into the game on the back of consecutive draws with Derry looking for a first win in five games - their last coming in a 2-0 result against Cork at Brandywell on April 26th.
The Saints came close to an opener on two minutes when Simon Madden controlled a superb crossfield pass before skipping past the challenge of Coll but his cross towards the front post was headed narrowly over by Gary Shaw.
Another well struck crossfield ball, this time from David Webster, sent Mikey Drennan clear on eight minutes but his shot on the half volley under pressure went harmlessly wide.
After lengthy stoppages for injuries sustained by Sloggett and goalkeeper, Brendan Clarke in separate incidents, normal service was resumed as Pat's threatened a breakthrough goal on 14 minutes.
Madden was causing havoc on the right side and his inviting cross was headed towards the bottom corner by Drennan but Peter Cherrie got down well to save.
Derry's first real attempt came on 17 minutes when McDermott cut inside before laying it off to Bruna but the Argentine's low strike was deflected wide for a corner.
All the danger was coming down Pat's right side and Jamie Lennon tried his luck from 20 yards but it sailed safely into the hands of Cherrie.
Sloggett was ordered off the pitch by the referee to receive treatment on his nose just as Pat's were about to take a corner kick. And from the set-piece, with Derry down to 10 men, Drennan whipped it in and Toner rose highest to head across goal and into the net.
Sloggett had been tasked with marking Toner and understandably the Derry bench were furious with the match official's decision to make him leave the pitch.
Derry huffed and puffed but couldn't find any momentum. The loss of Darren Cole to injury forced an early reshuffle as Josh Kerr came in for his seventh City appearance.
The fourth official signalled four added minutes at the end of the first half but the Candy Stripes failed to test the Saints keeper.
Devine brought on McNamee for Parkhouse five minutes into the second half and Derry began to boss possession as St Pat's retreated into their own half for long periods.
And it was McNamee who created the visitors' best chance of the game on 69 minutes when he carved open the Saints' defence with a superbly weighted throughball to send Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe into space and the striker's left footed effort beat the keeper but crashed off the foot of the post.
Bruna hit a rasping drive towards goal when he found himself in space on 76 minutes but it found only the side netting as Derry continued to press for an equaliser. Coll crossed superbly from the left wing and when Clarke misjudged the flight of the ball it struck Ogedi-Uzokwe on the chest and rolled behind for a goal kick.
At the other end St Pat's broke quickly and Madden crossed towards McCabe who rose unopposed but headed just wide from 12 yards.
Ogedi-Uzokwe was again at the centre of the action with eight minutes to go as he latched onto a neat Delap pass just inside the penalty area and after a quick turn his weak strike failed to trouble the keeper.
Again the striker wasted a glorious chance from a brilliant Coll cross but sent his diving header wide of the target as the game got away from the Foylesiders who have now gone five games without a win.
St Pat's: B. Clarke; K. Toner, D. Webster, C. Kelly; S. Madden, J. Lennon, D. Markey (J. Walker 73), R. McCabe, I. Bermingham; M. Drennan (J. Doona 86), G. Shaw (C. Forrester 66); Subs Not Used- B. Murphy, C. Coleman, K. Kelly, P. Cleary.
Derry City: P. Cherrie: C. McDermott (J. McDonagh 65), D. Cole (J. Kerr 38), E. Toal, C. Coll; J. Ogedi-Uzokwe, C. Harkin, G. Sloggett, A. Delap; G.Bruna; D. Parkhouse (B. McNamee 50); Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, J. Malone, S. McNamee, A. Gilchrist.
Referee - Sean Grant.