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Derry City extend their winning streak to move second

St Patrick's Athletic 1 Derry City 3

First blood: Derry City ace Patrick McClean celebrates hitting the opener against St Pat’s at Richmond Park
First blood: Derry City ace Patrick McClean celebrates hitting the opener against St Pat’s at Richmond Park

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City moved up to second place in the Premier Division table after they blitzed 10-man St Patrick's Athletic in a hectic first half at Richmond Park.

The Candystripes went three goals clear by the half-hour mark while St Pat's were reduced to 10 men, all but ending the game as a contest before the half-time whistle.

Derry got off to the perfect start when they opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock.

Greg Sloggett burst forward into space and played the ball back to Patrick McClean, who opted to have a go from 25 yards. His effort bounced under Brendan Clarke and into the net - it was poor from the goalkeeper, but Derry and McClean in particular didn't care.

The goal helped Derry settle quickly into the game and the visitors dominated possession in the early going, their quick, sharp passing leaving the frustrated St Pat's players chasing shadows.

It took the hosts 15 minutes to threaten. A shooting opportunity opened up for Darragh Markey after he played a quick one-two with Rhys McCabe, but his effort was straight at Peter Cherrie, who saved comfortably.

The game then deteriorated spectacularly for St Pat's in the space of two incredible minutes.

Derry were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal for a foul on Darren Cole. Junior and Gerardo Bruna both stood over the ball but it was the Argentinian who took it on, sweeping it left-footed over the wall and past Clarke into the bottom corner for a spectacular second goal.

It was a superb effort from the midfielder.

St Pat's were still coming to terms with that when they were reduced to 10 men as Kevin Toner went in hard on Ciaron Harkin and referee Paul McLaughlin immediately produced the red card.

It just got worse for St Pat's from there as Derry began to use their man advantage to pass them off the park, and they made it 3-0 on the half-hour.

Cole's cross went right across goal to the back post, where Junior fired it past an exposed Clarke.

Much to Declan Devine's frustration, Derry switched off and St Pat's pulled a goal back immediately, Simon Madden's cross into the penalty area glanced in by Gary Shaw to give the hosts some hope of a comeback.

The second half failed to live up to the standards set in the first as the Candystripes held on to what they had to record a fifth successive victory.

ST. PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Clarke, Madden, Kelly, Toner, Bermingham, Desmond, Lennon (Clarke 76), McCabe (Coleman 45), Clifford, Markey (Walker 80), Shaw.

DERRY CITY: Cherrie, McClean, Kerr (Toal 88), Gilchrist, Cole, Ogedi-Uzokwe, Harkin, Sloggett, Bruna (McNamee 71), Stokes (Coll 66), Parkhouse.

REFEREE: Paul McLaughlin.

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