Saturday 19 August 2017

Kelly gets Saints marching forward

St Patrick's Ath 2 Derry City 1

Michael Barker of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Barry McNamee of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Michael Barker of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Barry McNamee of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Graham Kelly scored the winner at a throbbing Richmond Park as St Patrick's Athletic battled from behind to give themselves a massive lift in their battle to avoid the drop.

A first win in nine games moved Liam Buckley's side out of the relegation zone, overnight at least.

Graham Kelly of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Aaron McEneff of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Graham Kelly of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Aaron McEneff of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Victory was fully deserved in a pulsating match which saw St Pat's roll up their sleeves to graft their way to a morale-boosting three points.

Despite dominating possession and creating a host of chances, St Pat's found themselves behind at the interval.

Kelly wasted a glorious opening to give them a 20th-minute lead when heading the ball straight at Ger Doherty after Christy Fagan flicked on skipper Ian Bermigham's cross.

The home side then had two penalty claims denied - first when Fagan and then Killian Brennan appeared to be fouled in the area.

Christy Fagan of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Darren Cole of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Christy Fagan of St Patrick's Athletic in action against Darren Cole of Derry City. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Derry were very much in the match, though, troubling St Pat's on the counter-attack.

Barry McNamee twice got in from clever Rory Patterson through balls only to shoot wide.

Conor O'Malley then rescued St Pat's with a sublime save, somehow touching Harry Monaghan's drive onto the bar before Derry snatched the lead on 42 minutes.

Left unmarked from Nicky Low's corner, Ronan Curtis sent a looping header to the net for a fourth goal in five games.

Harry Monaghan of Derry City in action against Billy Dennehy of St Patrick's Athletic. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Harry Monaghan of Derry City in action against Billy Dennehy of St Patrick's Athletic. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Undeterred, St Pat's chased the game hard in the second half and Derry had a right let-off on 61 minutes.

Billy Dennehy, Kelly and Kurtis Byrne were involved to set up Fagan, whose shot was cleared off the line first by Darren Cole and then Doherty after a ricochet off Dean Jarvis.

Another St Pat's penalty shout for a handball wasn't given before, from the resulting corner on 67 minutes, Cole impeded substitute Rory Feely and referee Rob Rogers pointed to the spot.

Kurtis Byrne drove the penalty-kick into the top corner to deservedly equalise.

With their tails up, St Pat's then went on to win it with a cracking goal on 77 minutes.

Darren Cole of Derry City in action against Graham Kelly of St Patrick's Athletic. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Darren Cole of Derry City in action against Graham Kelly of St Patrick's Athletic. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Feely sent Conan Byrne away on the right to get by a defender and pull the ball back for Kelly (above), who drove his shot home.

 

ST PAT'S ATH - O'Malley; Barker, Balk, Desmond, Bermingham; Brennan (Feely, 56); C Byrne, Kelly, K Byrne (Markey, 83), B Dennehy; Fagan (J O'Hanlon, 90+1).

DERRY CITY - G Doherty; Monaghan, Cole, Jarvis, B Doherty (Holden, 68); McEneff, Low; Schubert (Boyle, 73), McNamee, Curtis (Daniels, 83); Patterson.

Ref - Rob Rogers (Dublin).

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