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Derry crumble in a shock loss to struggling St Pat's

St Pat's Athletic 2 Derry City 1


Bittersweet: Ronan Curtis hails his opener but Derry fell to defeat. Photo: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Bittersweet: Ronan Curtis hails his opener but Derry fell to defeat. Photo: Bryan Keane/INPHO

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Bittersweet: Ronan Curtis hails his opener but Derry fell to defeat. Photo: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Derry City threw away a half-time lead as they fell to a surprise and disappointing 2-1 defeat at the home of struggling St Patrick's Athletic last night.

The Candystripes led at the break thanks to Ronan Curtis' fifth goal in seven games, but Pat's hit back with Kurtis Byrne and Graham Kelly giving the hosts their first win in nine league games.

It was a highly entertaining game at Richmond Park, particularly in the first half as chances came thick and fast.

Derry were not coping with Billy Dennehy or Ian Bermingham on the wings early on and midway through the first half the hosts should have taken the lead when the latter crossed perfectly for Kelly, who was unmarked and sent a glancing header at goal. Fortunately for Derry, it was straight at Gerard Doherty.

Down the other end, Derry broke through the St Pat's defence for the first time with Barry McNamee. The midfielder, under pressure, lofted the ball over Conor O'Malley, but as the effort trickled towards goal, Michael Barker got back to lash it off the line for a corner.

Pat's should have taken the lead just after the half hour when Christy Fagan was sent through. Fagan, who was the scourge of Derry in the 2014 FAI Cup final, looked odds-on to score, and although his effort beat Doherty, it also beat the target.

Derry came back into the game and five minutes before the break they were denied a spectacular goal by an even more impressive save as O'Malley tipped Harry Monaghan's shot onto the crossbar. From the resulting corner, however, Curtis found space and he sent a looping header over the St Pat's goalkeeper to give Derry the lead.

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In the second half there was only one team in it, but the equaliser, when it came, was controversial, with referee Rob Rogers penalising Monaghan for handball in the area.

Kurtis Byrne stepped up to take the penalty and drove the hosts level on the hour mark.

The momentum was with St Pat's and they grabbed the winner on 77 minutes when Conan Byrne beat McNamee and his low cross was turned in by Kelly to give the hosts their first league win since March.

St Patrick's: O'Malley, Barker, Bermingham, C Byrne, Kelly, Fagan (O'Hanlon 90), Brennan (Feely 55), Desmond, Balk, K Byrne (Markey 83), Dennehy.

Derry City: G Doherty, B Doherty (Holden 62), Jarvis, Cole, Monaghan, Low, McEneff, McNamee, Curtis (Daniels 83), Schubert (Boyle 72), Patterson.

Referee: Rob Rogers.

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