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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Derry City advance as hero Doherty makes 95th-minute penalty save

There was late drama at the Brandywell as St Patrick’s Athletic crashed out of the FAI Cup.

Gerard Doherty celebrates saving a last minute penalty with teammates Source: Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

Derry City 1
St Patrick’s Athletic 0

Simon Collins reports from Brandywell Stadium

DERRY CITY SKIPPER Gerard Doherty produced a dramatic penalty save deep into second-half stoppage time to ensure the Candystripes progressed to the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup.

The experienced goalkeeper saved Ian Turner’s 95th-minute spot-kick with the last action of the match to keep intact City’s 1-0 lead after substitute Adrian Delap gave the home lot an 81st-minute lead.

It was an enforced substitution from Kenny Shiels as striker Ally Roy retired with an injury 54 minutes into the match, but it proved an inspired one as the Irish Colleges and Universities midfielder bundled home the winner with nine minutes remaining in this pulsating tie.

St Pat’s had the chance to send the game into extra-time in the final minute when Simon Madden was fouled inside the area by Dan Seaborne, but Doherty proved to be the hero to spark wild celebrations.

It was Derry City’s third victory over the men from Inchicore on Foyleside this season but this will undoubtedly be the sweetest for manager Shiels, as his bid to qualify for European football for a third successive year remains on track.

Shiels had made two changes from the team which lost at home to Waterford last Friday night, with Jamie McDonagh and Ben Fisk preferred to Gavin Peers and Aaron Splaine who dropped to the bench.

Killian Brennan dejected after the game Source: Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

Meanwhile, St Pat’s were unchanged from the team which held champions Cork City to a draw at Turners Cross last Sunday in the Premier Division.

Dean Clarke got past Jamie McDonagh on the right side of the home side’s penalty area but the City right-back clipped his heels on the edge of the box to gift the Saints a promising free-kick after three minutes.

It was a glorious chance for St Pat’s to test Doherty but Conan Byrne sent his curling free-kick harmlessly wide of the far post. Byrne then got onto the end of Ian Bermingham’s in-swinging corner-kick but headed wide at the front post under pressure.

The Dubliners were controlling the early stages but, from a quick counter-attack on 18 minutes, Ben Fisk ran unopposed before testing Brendan Clarke with a decent right-footed strike that the Saints stopper turned behind for a corner.

Derry began to warm to the occasion less than 10 minutes before the break and Clarke was called into action twice in the space of 60 seconds. McDonagh laid the ball perfectly into the path of Aaron McEneff, who got in behind the Saints defence but his low strike was blocked by the out-rushing Clarke.

City kept the ball alive and when it came to Rory Hale, the Belfast man’s 25-yard strike was palmed over the bar by the Saints keeper. From a free-kick wide on the right, Fisk found the head of Seaborne at the far post but his cushioned effort went wide of the mark on 40 minutes.

Derry came closest to breaking the deadlock five minutes after the restart when Rory Hale found McEneff’s run with a terrific ball, however, the midfielder’s shot fizzed across the face of goal and went wide.

Kevin McHattie with Conan Byrne Source: Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

There were shouts for a handball from the home support when Seaborne’s header from a corner bounced up and hit the outstretched arm of Dean Clarke, but referee Neil Doyle was unconvinced.

With the game looking to be heading towards extra-time, Derry edged in front with just nine minutes left on the clock. After a quick break, substitutes Splaine and Delap combined on the edge of the box with a neat exchange, with the latter bundling the ball home as Clarke and two Pat’s defenders challenged him eight yards from goal.

The Saints pressed for an equaliser in the dying embers of the game and ex-Brandywell favourite Simon Madden peeled off at the back post to latch onto Kevin Toner’s cross but volleyed high and wide.

There was drama right at the death as Seaborne was adjudged to have brought down Madden inside the penalty area and referee Neil Doyle pointed to the spot.

Up stepped Turner in the fifth minute of stoppage time in a bid to keep the tie alive, but his effort was saved superbly by the foot of Doherty — the second time this season the City skipper saved a Saints penalty late in a game.

DERRY CITY: G. Doherty; J. McDonagh, D. Cole, D. Seaborne, K. McHattie; Ronan Hale, B. Fisk (S. McNamee, 90), R. Hale, D. Shiels (A. Splaine, HT); A. McEneff; A. Roy (A. Delap, 54).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: B. Clarke, S. Madden, L. Desmond, K. Toner, I. Bermingham; D. Clarke (M. Leahy, 86) R. Brennan, J. Lennon, C. Byrne (I. Turner, 77), A. Campion, C. Clifford (K. Brennan, 86).

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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Simon Collins

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