Junior strikes as the Saints lost out to the Candystripes
A Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe goal was the difference between the teams at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium last night as St Patrick’s Athletic suffered a 1-0 defeat to Derry City in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Already well behind Shamrock Rovers in the race for the top-flight title, this result – a ninth reversal for the current campaign – leaves the Saints all of 12 points adrift of their Dublin rivals.
On the plus side, the Hoops’ 2-0 triumph over Sligo Rovers means Pat’s are seven points clear of the latter in their quest for a runners-up spot.
The Saints have endured a difficult run of form in the league, losing three games out of five in advance of yesterday’s encounter.
However, an Alfie Lewis goal deep into stoppage-time earned the Inchicore men a dramatic victory over Drogheda United last Friday week and this meant spirits were high within Stephen O’Donnell’s squad for the trip to the Ulster county.
It was almost a dream start to the action for the visitors, with Matty Smith heading against the woodwork off Sam Bone’s sixth-minute cross.
The Saints continued to ramp up the pressure as Chris Forrester forced a fine stop out of Derry netminder Nathan Gartside.
The hosts subsequently grew into the game, however, with Vítězslav Jaroš turning away a Jamie McGonigle effort on 18 minutes.
His opposite number Gartside also denied Smith towards the end of an entertaining opening period.
That was enough time for Forrester to smash the crossbar with a fierce drive, but it was ultimately scoreless at the break.
Darragh Burns and Billy King both went close after the restart as Pat’s continued to attack with purpose.
Yet, they were hit by a sucker punch in the 63rd-minute when Ogedi-Uzokwe headed home McGonigle’s cross off a swift counter attack.
This ensured the Saints were chasing the game during the final-quarter, though Jason McClelland once again tested the resolve of Gartside.
Both teams were to end the game with 10 men after Saints substitute Ronan Coughlan and Derry’s Danny Lafferty were both given their marching orders.
Sam Bone did have a shot saved in the closing minutes, but even though there was six minutes of stoppage-time played, St Pat’s fell short in the end.