Fagan fires hat-trick to leave Derry in turmoil
St Patrick's Athletic 5 Derry City 2
Derry City may have a new manager but the same old problems were there for all to see at Richmond Park as they fell to their fifth league defeat of the season.
For the champions, St Patrick's Athletic, it was all about getting back on track after their 2-0 defeat to Limerick last week and they did so in some style.
Christy Fagan, the league's top scorer, was in blistering form, while Keith Fahey dictated the tempo in front of the back four.
Earlier this week, new Derry boss Peter Hutton spoke of how his players are playing with a renewed sense of freedom and belief. It was perhaps that freedom that caused their downfall as time and time again they were exposed through the middle.
It didn't take the home side long to forget last week's setback. Chris Forrester played the ball into Fagan's feet and, although the striker had his back to goal, he somehow managed to shrug off Ryan McBride before firing the ball into the net with his weaker left foot.
Six minutes later, it was 2-0 thanks to Fagan, but this time his goal had a huge slice of fortune. Fahey nicked the ball from Michael Duffy before running clean through on goal and unselfishly squaring it for Fagan.
The striker mishit his shot off McBride, who was back covering on the line, but the rebound crashed off Fagan and into the back of the net.
Two became three on 22 minutes as Derry's backline completely folded once again. Killian Brennan swung in a corner and Conan Byrne found himself unmarked on the penalty spot to nod home.
Fagan almost had a first-half hat-trick after Forrester played the ball across the box – he was denied by a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle from McBride.
That miss mattered little, though, as Sean Hoare scored their fourth goal, three minutes after the restart. Brennan's set-piece delivery again caused havoc in the Derry defence and the 20-year-old defender headed home his first goal for the club.
Duffy pulled one back for the visitors with a terrific shot that crashed in off the post but it was nothing more than a consolation.
Fagan completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute when he capitalised on a woeful error from Ger Doherty in the Derry goal. The 'keeper took an age to clear his lines and Fagan gleefully took the ball from him and tucked away his 12th goal of the season.
Rory Patterson scored a second Derry goal from close range late on but it was Pat's who got their season back on track as they move into third position, while the Candystripes are left to pick up the pieces of a campaign that is going from bad to worse.
St Pat's – Clarke; O'Brien, Browne, Hoare, Bermingham; Byrne, Chambers (McCormack 78), Fahey, Brennan; Forrester (Lynch 75); Fagan (Quigley 75).
Derry City – Doherty; S McEleney, McBride, Barry, Jarvis; P McEleney (Foy 92), Molloy, Ventre (McGovern 64), Duffy; McNamee; Patterson (Boyle 85).
REF – P McLaughlin (Monaghan)