Patterson strike is not enough for sloppy Derry City
Galway United 2 Derry City 1
Derry City's hopes of Europa League qualification took a huge blow as they fell to a lacklustre defeat in Galway last night. In what was the Candystripes' first competitive game for a month, they were unable to rouse themselves late on to hit back after Stephen Folan's winning goal 10 minutes from time.
It leaves Kenny Shiels and his team one point behind Shamrock Rovers, now in fourth place, having once led the Dubliners by eight points.
The hosts, in deep relegation trouble, arguably need the win even more than Derry and they started brightly with Gavan Holohan almost finding the net spectacularly within five minutes. The midfielder skipped past Nicky Low then outfoxed Ben Doherty before trying his luck from 25 yards but his shot was too high to trouble Gerard Doherty.
Galway hit the front just moments later, however, as the hosts attacked and, although Eoin Toal was able to block Ronan Murray's shot right on the edge of the penalty area, the ball spun kindly for Kevin Devaney who struck past Doherty.
Derry very nearly equalised within a minute and Lukas Schubert was left holding his head in his hands after an innovative piece of skill just failed to bring the leveller.
Galway were pegged back just past the half hour as Patterson finally got the goal he has been waiting for all season. Aaron Barry picked up the pieces from a corner and drove a speculative effort towards goal. The shot turned into the perfect assist however as it deflected right into the path of Patterson, all alone in the area, and he hooked home to draw the Candystripes level.
Patterson could have doubled his tally within a minute of the restart. Low was the most alert player in the Galway half as his quickly taken free-kick sent Patterson through against Winn but the striker failed to get any real purchase on his shot.
The game was there for the taking as the contest entered the final 15 minutes but, with Derry players beginning to tire, it was Galway who seized the initiative.
A period of intense pressure saw the hosts win successive corners and, when the second was sent into the heart of the Derry penalty area, Folan stuck out his right foot and directed the ball beyond a sea of bodies, beyond Doherty and into the net.
Galway United: Winn, Horgan, Ludden, Maher (Byrne 22), Holohan (Melody 90), Cawley, Cunningham (McCormack 73), Devaney, Hale, Murray, Folan.
Derry City: Doherty, McDermott, Barry, Toal, Monaghan, Low, McNamee, Schubert (McIntyre 85), Doherty (Farren 85), Curtis, Patterson.
Referee: Ray Matthews.