Sam McKeever reports from Richmond Park
St Patrick’s Athletic made it four wins on the bounce with a fantastic 5-2 comeback win over Derry City at Richmond Park.
Jake Keegan, Conan Byrne, Kevin Toner, Thomas Byrne and Darragh Market scored for the Saints after Rory Patterson and Darren Cole had twice given Derry the lead.
The Saints started off strongly as a corner from Conan Byrne on the right found the head of Lee Desmond on the penalty spot, and the defender's header flew over Ger Doherty’s crossbar.
The Candystripes took the lead after some sloppy defending by the Pat’s defence as a poor pass out by goalkeeper Barry Murphy found Derry's Aaron McEneff on the edge of the box.
He had the simple task of rolling the ball into the path of Rory Patterson, who tapped it in from close range.
Pats responded straight away. A cross from Conan Byrne found Jake Keegan on the edge of the penalty area and he hit a suburb first time finish into the bottom corner for the perfect response.
Kenny Shiels' men went back in front in the 17th minute. A goal that Pats will be disappointed to concede as Darren Cole picked up the ball in acres of space around the Saints penalty area.
AJamie Lennon tackle did very little to put the midfielder off as his deflected shot ended up in the bottom corner of Murphy’s goal.
Pats almost levelled the scores on the half-hour mark. A fantastic ball over the top of the Derry defence by Kevin Toner found the chest of Thomas Byrne.
Byrne managed to pull the ball back to Darragh Markey, but he lacked the finishing touch and put it over the bar from 12 yards.
The Saints were awarded a penalty five minutes before the interval. A push by Ger Doherty on Ryan Brennan made Ben Connolly point to the spot despite the Derry players' protests.
Conan Byrne stepped up to place it into the bottom left hand corner with Doherty going the opposite way.
Pats hit Derry with the double barrel as they ended the half in the lead. Once again a Conan Byrne corner from the right found Kevin Toner at the back post. He leaped up beautifully to head past Ger Doherty.
The Saints made it four in the opening nine minutes into the second half as they carried on the confidence gained from their strong finish to the first half.
The ball was played into Thomas Byrne, who did brilliantly to turn away from his marker before finishing into the roof of the net.
Derry almost had a great chance to pull it back to 4-3 with a little over 20 minutes to go as agreat run from substitute Jamie McDonagh got him into a fantastic position in the box.
He lacked support from his Derry team mates, though, and a good low cross to the six yard box only really needing a green shirt to tap home to give Shiels' side hope going into the final minutes.
Soon after a lovely ball in behind found the run of midfielder Aaron McEneff, whose bursting run got him to the byline and once again a good cross under pressure was not met by a Derry player. The ball lingered only a few yards out from goal before Lee Desmond cleared the danger of the line.
Pats capped off a fantastic comeback and put Derry out of their misery with a minute left to play, sealing a win that takes the Saints clear of Derry in fourth.
A fantastic bit of skill by Darragh Markey made an opening for a shot and the midfielder took the chance with both hands as he smashed it past Ger Doherty into the bottom corner.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond, Simon Madden; Jamie Lennon, Ryan Brennan, Darragh Markey; Conan Byrne, Thomas Byrne (Christy Fagan 72), Jake Keegan.
Subs not used: Tyson Farago, Michael Barker, Graham Kelly, James Doona, Ian Turner, Michael Leahy.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Darren Cole, Gavin Peers (Jamie McDonagh (61), Eoin Toal, Jack Doyle; Aaron McEneff, Nicky Low, Rory Hale; Conor McDermott, Ronan Hale (Ronan Curtis 60), Rory Patterson.
Booked: Gavin Peers (21), Ger Doherty (40), Rory Patterson (44), Rory Hale (55).
Subs not used: Eric Grimes, Nathan Boyle, Cathal Farren, Niall Louge
Referee: Ben Connolly
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Darragh Markey (St Patrick's Athletic).