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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Late McEneff goal leaves Pat's frustrated by Derry

The Candy Stripes were forced to come from behind for the third consecutive match to earn a draw.

Image: Tom Beary/INPHO

Derry City 2
St Patrick’s Athletic 2

Simon Collins reports from Maginn Park 

DERRY CITY WERE forced to come from behind for the third consecutive match to earn a draw in a entertaining encounter against St Patrick’s Athletic at Maginn Park.

The Saints took a surprise lead on 21 minutes through Kurtis Byrne, who poked the ball through the legs of Gerard Doherty at the near post.

But Ronan Curtis equalised for the home side with a superb individual strike six minutes before the interval — his third of the season.

And St Pat’s had goalkeeper Conor O’Malley to thank for producing a string of magnificent saves to deny City the lead in the first half.

The Dubliners then took the lead for a second time courtesy of a sublime clipped strike from just inside the penalty area by Conan Byrne.

However, Derry pressed for the equaliser and with six minutes to go Aaron McEneff found the far corner of the net with a composed strike to earn the Candy Stripes a point.

The result meant Kenny Shiels men slipped to sixth place as their winless run stretched to seven games.

Shiels was forced into making two changes to the starting XI with Nathan Boyle and Nicky Low, who got injured in the warm-up, replaced by McEneff and Mikhail Kennedy.

And it was the late replacement, McEneff, who created City’s first chance of the match on 10 minutes when he won the ball superbly deep in the Saints’ half. He drove towards goal and forced O’Malley to parry his shot away, but it fell to Lukas Schubert and the Austrian sliced his volley just wide of the far post.

McEneff was clearly well up for this one and he dispossessed Gavin Peers before trying his luck again from distance and O’Malley needed two attempts to gather the ball.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock against the run of play when Byrne latched onto a ball from Conan Byrne — he took a touch, before poking the ball through the legs of Doherty at the near post.

Straight up the other end O’Malley produced two outstanding saves in quick succession, firstly blocking Kennedy’s close-range strike before palming Curtis’ volley over the bar acrobatically.

The Saints stopper did well to block Ben Doherty’s strike after a promising run on the wing and when the ball rebounded back into the path of the City left back, his second attempt on goal was again saved by O’Malley.

St Pat’s broke through the middle of the Derry defence moments later and let fly with his left foot forcing Doherty to palm behind.

Curtis netted a magnificent goal six minutes before the interval when cutting inside from the left before curling his effort into top corner of the net — his second goal of the season.

Kennedy should’ve put Derry into the lead on 42 minutes when Schubert did well to play him through on goal but his low strike from the edge of the area was saved by the feet of O’Malley.

Derry keeper Doherty got a hand to Byrne’s shot on the turn on 58 minutes to put it behind for a corner.

Substitute Cathal Farren was straight into the thick of the action moments after coming off the bench on 65 minutes, as he laid the ball to McNamee, who blasted over the crossbar.

The Dubliner got back in front on 68 minutes courtesy of a lovely chipped effort from just inside the Derry penalty area, lobbing the back-peddling Doherty and finding the net.

Doherty came to his side’s rescue on 67 minutes when Kurtis Byrne brought down his namesake, Conan, as the Derry ‘keeper was quick off his line to block the St Pat’s man’s strike.

St Pat’s substitute Josh O’Hanlon was sent scampering clear by Darragh Marke, but Doherty was alert to the danger and saved with his outstretched foot on 82 minutes.

With six minutes to go, McEneff picked up a pass from Conor McDermott and placed his shot into the far corner of the net with a composed finish to get Derry back on terms.

Derry City: G .Doherty; C. McDermott, A. Barry, D. Jarvis, B. Doherty; L. Schubert (M. Timlin 77), H. Monaghan (J. Daniels 84), A. McEneff, R. Curtis; B. McNamee; M. Kennedy (C. Farren 64); Subs Not Used – E. Grimes, R. Holden, S. Whiteside.

St Patrick’s Athletic: C. O’Malley; M. Barker, G. Peers, R. Feely, I. Bermingham; C. Byrne, S. Verdon (G. Kelly h-t), L Desmond, B. Dennehy; D. Markey; K. Byrne (J. O’Hanlon 79); Subs Not Used – B. Murphy, P. Cregg, C. Fagan, J. Lunney, J. Bayly.

Referee - Neil Doyle.

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About the author:

Simon Collins

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