Derry finish with 10 men as second-half brace sends St Pat's top of Premier Division table

Robbie Benson and substitute Darragh Burns were both on target at Richmond Park.

Darragh Burns celebrates scoring a goal for St Pat's.
Darragh Burns celebrates scoring a goal for St Pat's.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 2

Derry City 0

Dave Donnelly reports at Richmond Park

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC moved clear on top of the Premier Division – for one night at least – thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Derry City.

Second-half goals from Robbie Benson and substitute Darragh Burns win their third game on the bounce, while the visitors have yet to take a point from their three fixtures.

The Candystripes played the guts of an hour with ten men after defender Danny Lupano – an off-season acquisition from Hull City – was sent off for a second booking.

There was only ever going to be one winner from that moment, although Declan Devine’s side put up a stern resistance until the hour.

Derry set up to press the Saints high with a flexible three-at-the-back formation and had some success in disrupting the home side’s usual smooth passing game.

They had the first real chance to opening the scoring midway through the half as James Akintunde met a Jack Malone cross but he couldn’t direct his header on target.

Belgian defender Lupano had already been booked for a reckless tackle on Matty Smith when the same player broke the high line and, after tugging the winger back, was shown a second yellow.

All of a sudden, the Athletic found their tempo and began to probe the makeshift Derry defence with quick passing, with Chris Forrester beginning to orchestrate.

Nathan Gartside denied Smith with a fine low save before parrying clear close-range efforts from Ian Bermingham and Forrester before the break.

Stephen O’Donnell’s Saints began the second half at the same clip they finished the first and Bermingham sent a shot narrowly.

The breakthrough finally came on the hour-mark as Rónán Coughlan dribbled through a tangle of bodies in the box before the ball broke to Benson to slot home from close range.

Northern Ireland underage international Burns was introduced for Smith moments later and he made an almost instant impact as he doubled the Inchicore men’s advantage.

A beautiful 50-yard through ball from centre-half Sam Bone found Burns out on the right and he stepped inside, dropped a shoulder and curled his shot deftly into the far corner.

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St. Patrick’s Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros; John Mountney, Lee Desmond, Sam Bone, Ian Bermingham; Chris Forrester (Alfie Lewis 80), Robbie Benson, Jamie Lennon; Billy King (Jason McClelland 80), Matty Smith (Darragh Burns 66), Rónán Coughlan (Nahum Melvin-Lambert 86).

Derry City: Nathan Gartside; Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Danny Lupano; Daniel Lafferty, Ciaron Harkin, Joe Thomson (Ronan Boyce 74), Will Patching, Jack Malone; David Parkhouse (William Fitzgerald 74), James Akintunde (Brendan Barr 61).

Referee: Ben Connolly

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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