Derry City 2, Bohemians 1
RORY Patterson took his season’s tally to 18 goals to complete a superb second half comeback against Bohemians which sealed Derry City’s place in next season’s UEFA Europa League qualifiers.
Bohemians had taken a 17th minute lead through striker Kurtis Byrne but from then on it was one-way traffic.
Derry twice hit the woodwork in the first half before Aaron McEneff got the home side back on level terms from the penalty spot five minutes after the interval.
And Patterson put Kenny Shiels’ troops in front when he turned the ball into the net from close range. On another night the Strabane man could so easily have netted a hat-trick but one was enough to see European football back at Brandywell next year!
And it was no more than the Candy Stripes deserved as the home side were outstanding on the night and they now look on course to clinch third spot as the victory sent them five points clear of fourth placed Shamrock Rovers with just two games to go.
Bohs were first to test the keeper after six minutes when Keith Buckley’s inviting pass across the face of goal was met by the outstretched leg of Kurtis Byrne, but he couldn’t direct his close range effort past Gerard Doherty.
Five minutes later Josh Daniels picked up the ball on the edge of the Bohs penalty but he dragged his right footed shot wide of the target.
The Dubliners got off the mark on 17 minutes when Byrne beat Derry keeper, Doherty in a race to the ball and his shot found the net despite the best efforts of Conor McDermott who attempted to clear off the line.
Sixty seconds later Daniels carved open the Bohs defence with a ball through the middle which tempted Dean Delany out of his box but Patterson got to it first. The Derry striker rounded the keeper on the 18 yard line but his tame shot was cleared by the retreating Derek Prendergast.
Derry were pressing for the equaliser and when Keith Ward’s corner was headed to the edge of the box, McEneff’s stunning strike on the volley hit the foot of the post.
Bohs were under sustained pressure and Patterson took the ball down with a beautiful first touch on the left side of the penalty area before his powerful strike was deflected into the side netting.
From the resultant corner, Patterson rose highest to meet the ball but his glancing header went the wrong side of the post.
Harry Monaghan sent Ward scampering past the last defender on 36 minutes but his shot took a touch off a Bohs defender and went behind for yet another corner kick.
Ward then found Niclas Vemmleund from the corner but the big Dane headed just wide of the target as Bohs somehow held on to their slender lead.
Derry did have the ball in the back of the net six minutes before the break when Daniels fizzed his cross towards the back post and Dean Jarvis poked it home. However, the referee’s assistant was quick to raise his flag for offside much to the disgust of the home support who may have had a decent case.
And on the stroke of half-time Daniels did well to keep the ball in play before cutting it back into the path of Patterson who cannoned his shot off the underside of the crossbar.
There was no let up from the home side at the start of the second half on fives minutes after the restart McDermott’s heels were clipped by Derek Pender just inside the penalty area.
Referee, Derek Tomney pointed to the spot and McEneff sent Delany the wrong way for his sixth goal of the season - all six from the penalty spot!
And Derry deservedly took the lead 13 minutes later following a scramble in on the Bohs’ six yard area. McEneff’s initial effort was cleared off the line moments before Jarvis’ shot was turned into the net by Patterson for his 18th of the season.
Delany did superbly to prevent Derry getting a third on 74 minutes when he saved Ronan Curtis’ downward header with his feet.
And Bohs could have netted an equaliser in the dying moments but Derek Prendergast’s header shaved the post and the Dubliners fell to a fourth defeat to Derry this season.
Derry fans can now look forward to European football once again but the Candy Stripe players want to finish the job and take third spot with victory over Sligo Rovers next weekend.
Derry City: G. Doherty; C. McDermott, C. Castells (M. Karner), N. Vemmelund; J. Daniels, H. Monaghan, K. Ward (R. Holden 76), McEneff (C. McCormack 76), D. Jarvis; R. Curtis, R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - S. Patton, N. Boyle, B. Doherty, L. Schubert.
Bohemians: D. Delany; L. Fitzgerald, I. Morris, D. Prendergast, D. Pender (O’Halloran 61); P. Kavanagh, D. Hayes, E. Wearen (M. Quigley 79), K. Buckley, J. Kelly (D. Byrne 61); K. Byrne; Subs Not Used - S. Supple, S. Best, O’Hara, D. Casey.
Referee - Derek Tomney (Dublin)