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Dramatic late goal-line clearance means McEneff double enough for Candystripes to see off Saints

Darren Cole’s clearance off the line meant Derry City earned all three points despite a nervy finish at the Brandywell.

Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring for Derry City on Friday night.
Aaron McEneff celebrates scoring for Derry City on Friday night.
Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Derry City 2

St Pat’s 1

Kevin McLaughlin reports from the Brandywell

IT WAS A Good Friday for Derry City’s Aaron McEneff, as his brace was enough to somehow see off St Patrick’s Athletic at the Brandywell in a game of high drama.

Although the midfielder picked up the man of the match award, he would have probably have had to share the award with goalkeeper Gerard Doherty.

The City net-minder made a host of top draw saves as the Dubliners in truth should have at least got a share of the spoils.

City made one change to their side which easily seen of Bray Wanderers a few weeks ago, with Ben Doherty coming into midfield replacing the suspended Nicky Low.

The visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead on four minutes Dean Clarke broke down the left and out paced Darren Cole, but his inch perfect centre was superbly cleared by a super last ditch sliding challenge to deny Ryan Brennan, what would have been a tap-in.

City took the lead on nine minutes in super fashion as Aaron McEneff charged down Kevin Toner’s clearance before picking up the loose ball inside the St Pat’s box, before making no mistake blasting home past Barry Murphy.

St Pat’s were inches away from levelling things on 23 minutes as Jake Keegan got in behind the City defence, but his low drive was kept out by City keeper Gerard Doherty and Clarke’s follow-up effort came back off the crossbar, before City managed to clear their lines.

Darren Cole and Dean Clarke Darren Cole competes for possession with goalscorer Dean Clarke. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Liam Buckley’s side thought they had equalised from Conan Byrne’s resulting corner, but Keegan’s effort was rather surprisingly disallowed for offside.

Just before the break another high ball into the City box caused problems but fortunately for the home side Clarke some how dragged his close range strike wide, when he only had Doherty to beat.

The Saints had the first effort in the second half but Jamie Lennon’s long range strike was easily gathered by Doherty.

On 53 minutes a neat flick by Ben Doherty fell to Rory Patterson on the edge of the box, but the striker’s snap-shot flew just over Murphy’s crossbar.

Minutes later another cross into the City box meant it was panic stations as Eoin Toal nearly diverted the ball into his own, but Doherty got down well to clear the ball.

Soon after Byrne found himself with some space inside the box after Jack Doyle had been caught out but the winger fired well over with his weaker left foot.

Just before the hour mark Kenny Shiels made a change as he looked to get his side get a foothold in the game as he replaced Ben Doherty with David Hopkirk.

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City doubled their advantage against the run of play on 73 minutes following a fantastic piece of play.

Aaron McEneff scores his second goal McEneff strikes a shot at goal. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

McEneff picked up possession inside his own half, before feeding Patterson down the right before he feed the ball back to the midfielder, who skipped away from his marker and made no mistake blasting high past Murphy.

St Pat’s were denied a goal on 79 minutes as Owen Garvan’s close range strike after a neat passing move, was somehow kept out by a diving Doherty.

The visitors deservedly pulled one back a minute later as another goal mouth scramble ended with Clarke turning the ball home from close range.

On 88 minutes Simon Madden’s right wing cross found an unmarked Clarke, but the striker’s glancing header was easily saved by Doherty.

Right at the death Patterson should have sealed the points for City, but he somehow fired over from close range, after Rory Hale’s centre had fallen perfectly to him.

Deep into stoppage time Doherty had to make another top draw save as he dived to keep out James Doona’s goalbound strike, before Darren Cole got back to clear the loose ball off the line.

DERRY CITY: G Doherty, McDermott, Toal, Cole, Doyle; Rory Hale, McEneff, B Doherty (Hopkirk 59); Curtis, Patterson, Ronan Hale.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Murphy, Madden, Toner, Desmond, Bermingham; Byrne, Garvan, Brennan (Doona 69), Lennon, Keegan (Fagan 69), Clarke.

Referee: Robert Harvey

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