- Monday May 24th, 2021 @ 20:40
Report: Derry 2-2 Saints (24/05/21)
St Patrick's Athletic earned themselves a point at the Ryan McBride Brandywell on Monday evening after a 2-2 draw with Derry City.
Lee Desmond opened the scoring in the first half before Ronan Boyce equalised three minutes later.
Joe Thompson's beautifully struck half volley looked as if it may have secured all three points to Derry, but Billy King's 84th minute equaliser ensured St Pat's brought a point back to Inchicore.
There were three changes from the dramatic win against Bohemians on Friday night, with Paddy Barrett, Robbie Benson and Shane Griffin replacing Matty Smith, Jamie Lennon and Ian Bermingham.
It was a first-half full of dangerous set pieces and two minutes in, Derry almost nudged themselves in front.
A towering Eoin Toal arrived at the back post to meet a well driven Will Patching corner and he forced Vitezslav Jaros into action who got down well to save Toal's goal bound effort.
The Saints started on the front foot and did create some shaky moments for the Derry defence inside the first 15 minutes as they looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
Lee Desmond's beautiful ball in behind the Derry defence found Billy King, but King drove his shot well over the bar.
Ronan Coughlan also had a half chance when Robbie Benson found him inside the box, but Coughlan was unable to create real space for a shot with his effort well blocked by the Derry defence.
St Pat's looked dangerous going forward and 22 minutes in, they were rewarded for their early pressure. John Mountney's corner was swung right into the danger area. It caused huge problems for the Derry defence and as it bounced in the air, Lee Desmond rose highest on the second attempt to head into a Derry goal to give The Saints an early lead.
Three minutes later, Derry City had their equaliser. Toal met Patching's driven corner at first attempt, but his header was cleared off the line from Chris Forrester and away for a corner.
Patching's subsequent corner was again aimed towards Toal and this time the centre back headed the ball back across goal, the ball was eventually scrambled over the line by Ronan Boyce to equalise for The Candystripes, St Pat's goalkeeper Jaros was sure he had been fouled, the referee did not agree.
It was an open game, with plenty of chances at both ends, and perhaps the best chance of the first-half for The Saints fell to Robbie Benson, 36 minutes in.
Billy King split the Derry defence open with a terrific ball to Benson. However, his powerful strike just clipped the top of the crossbar and over to leave it 1-1 at the break.
Chris Forrester has a record of scoring screamers and two minutes into the second half, he could have added to that collection. He unleashed a rocket from nearly 30 yards out with his shot flashing just over the bar.
Forrester grew into the game, enjoying a lot of possession and stringing together some impressive passes and 54 minutes in, St Pat's had the ball in the net, but it was disallowed. Forrester played a super ball over the top to John Moutney who did excellently to finish, but the linesman had his flag up to signal offside, as The Saints looked to prize an opening.
Derry did have some decent chances of their own early in the second half, with David Parkhouse going closest for The Candystripes when he raced onto a ball behind the St Pats defence but the striker drilled his shot well over Jaros' crossbar.
68 minutes in, Derry City took the lead, a goal which came completely against the run of play. Patching delivered another dangerous free kick, the ball was cleared to the edge of the area to Joe Thomson who connected beautifully with it on the half volley, giving Jaros no chance in the St Pats goal as his shot flew by the Saints' keeper.
The Saints flooded bodies into the area in search of a way back into the game, and in the 84th minute, they equalised. Teenager Ben McCormack, who had only entered the field of play five minutes before, delivered a delicious cross into the six yard area and Billy King was on the end of the cross to head past Gartside and equalise, with just six minutes remaining.
Despite late chances from Ian Bermingham and Mountney, The Saints were unable to find a winner as both sides gained a point from an extremely entertaining game of football.
The Saints are in action again on Friday night as they welcome Dundalk to Richmond, with a kick-off time of 7.45pm.
St Patrick's Athletic: Jaros; Mountney, Barrett (McCormack, 79), Desmond, Bone, Griffin (Bermingham, 34); Forrester, Lewis (Melvin-Lambert, 70) Benson; King, Coughlan.
Derry City: Nathan Gartside; Ronan Boyce, Eoin Toal, Ciaran Coll, Cameron McJannet, Daniel Lafferty (Jack Malone, 74); Will Patching, Ciaron Harkin, James Akintunde; David Parkhouse (Darren Cole, 81), Joe Thomson (Will Fitzgerald, 89)
Report by Eoin Rosney, photo credit Sportsfile