Saints defeat Derry to move level with Hoops and Sligo
By Daire Walsh
A 24th-minute Chris Forrester goal was enough to guide St Patrick’s Athletic towards a 1-0 victory against Derry City in an SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Richmond Park last night.
This win - their 11th of the campaign - moves the Saints back level on points with champions Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers at the summit of the top-flight table.
Chris Forrester scored the winning goal for St Pats
The Hoops and Liam Buckley’s Bit O’Red were originally due to face-off at The Showgrounds this evening, but the European commitments of both clubs means it has been switched to a later date in the calendar.
They may have a game more played than their title rivals - and remain in third spot with a slightly inferior score difference - but head coach Stephen O’Donnell will be happy with his side’s response to their Dublin derby reversal against Bohemians seven days earlier.
Eager to impress in front of the Inchicore faithful (whose presence at home games will hopefully continue on a permanent basis), Pat’s broke down a stubborn Candystripes defence just past the first-quarter mark.
A cross from the lively Darragh Burns found its way to Scottish winger Matty Smith.
His eventual effort was deflected into Forrester’s path and the influential midfielder fired home with considerable aplomb.
The Saints subsequently suffered a set-back on 27 minutes when Ronan Coughlan was forced out of the action – Billy King took his place – but they remained one goal to the good at the break.
However, the dismissal of Jamie Lennon for a second yellow-card offence 13 minutes after the resumption threw a spanner into the works.
Despite now being in a difficult spot, O’Donnell introduced 17-year-old James Abankwah for his league debut just past the hour – two days on from signing a professional deal with the Saints.
He played his part in an excellent second period effort, which saw St Pat’s hold on for a potentially precious three points.