Derry City 1, St Patrick’s Athletic 1
DERRY CITY were denied three valuable points by a Keith Tracey first half equaliser at Brandywell as the Candystripes were made to rue a series of missed chances.
Rory Patterson had put the Candystripes into the driving seat with a well taken 10th minute strike - his 10th goal of the season.
However, Saints midfielder, Tracey’s 24 minute goal cancelled out that strike as St Pat’s secured a share of the spoils.
Lucas Schubert struck the crossbar for the home side while Gerard Doherty made three fantastic saves to deny Christy Fagan, Sean Hoare and Billy Dennehy.
Derry City boss, Kenny Shiels was forced into a defensive reshuffle in the absence of his two injured centre halves, skipper, Ryan McBride and Aaron Barry.
Scottish midfielder, Harry Monaghan was gifted his first start since the beginning of July at the heart of the Derry defence, joining Niclas Vemmelund.
And it was a shaky start by the home lot. Ger O’Brien raced down the right flank on six minutes and cut the ball back to Conan Byrne free 16 yards from goal but his shot went over the bar.
Aaron McEneff tried his luck at the other end from just outside the Pat’s penalty area and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
From the short corner, Daniels crossed towards McEneff but his cushioned header was gathered cleanly by Brendan Clarke.
The home side were warming to the occasion and broke the deadlock on 10 minutes following a sublime move. Barry McNamee unlocked the Saint’s defence with a beautifully crafted pass and Patterson drilled the ball into the far corner.
St Pat’s came so close to hitting back 60 seconds later after a mistake by Derry’s makeshift centre half, Harry Monaghan but Billy Dennehy sent his low shot the wrong side of the post.
Derry’s Austrian midfielder, Schubert then struck the underside of the crossbar with a well executed strike after a neat back-heel by Daniels.
McEneff came so close to adding a second for the Candystripes following a sustained period of pressure on the St Pat’s defence but his shot went wide of the mark.
McEneff needlessly gave away possession just inside the Saints half on 24 minutes and when Mark Timlin raced through on the break, the ex-Derry City man found Tracey in space and he buried his shot low past Gerard Doherty.
Fagan the got onto the end of a long punt upfield and his shot on the half volley had to be palmed behind by Doherty.
From the resultant corner Tracey whipped in an inviting cross and Sean Hoare, at full stretch, directed his shot towards goal and Doherty saved superbly at point blank range with his standing foot.
Doherty came to his side’s rescue once again five minutes before the break when Monaghan diverted Conan Byrne’s cross into the path of Christy Fagan.
However, the striker’s tame shot from close range was saved by the feet of the Derry keeper.
Schubert was sent scampering clear on the left wing and when the Austrian beat his man before cutting back to Patterson who blazed his shot high over the target.
Derry’s first attempt on goal in the second half arrived on 68 minutes when McNamee’s skimmed his strike narrowly past the post.
And McEneff also came close for the Candystripes two minutes later when his drilled effort bounced in front of Clarke and went just wide of the target.
Billy Dennehy was played through on goal by substitute, Graham Kelly but Doherty stood tall and saved bravely to deny the Saints attacker from close range.
Monaghan was presented with a glorious chance to clinch victory in the final minute of injury time but his powerful header from Ronan Curtis’ corner kick was wide of the target.
Derry City: G. Doherty; C. McDermott, N. Vemmelund, H. Monaghan, D. Jarvis; L. Schubert (N. Boyle 61), C. McCormack, A. McEneff, J. Daniels (R. Curtis 69); B. McNamee (B. Doherty 86); R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - S. Patton, R. Holden, S. Todd, K. Ward.
St Pat’s: B. Clarke, G. O’Brien, D. Dennehy, S. Hoare, I. Bermingham; C. Byrne (S. Kinsella 69), D. Cawley (G. Kelly 19), K. Tracey (S. Verdon 81) , M. Timlin; B. Dennehy; C. Fagan; Subs Not Used - C. O’Malley, D. Corcoran, L. Desmond, M. Barker.
Referee - Paul Tuite (Dublin).