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Derry City up to third after St Pat's Athletic win

Danny Mullen celebrates scoring a goal
[Inpho]

Derry City moved third in the League of Ireland Premier Division with a hard-fought 3-1 win over St.Pat’s Athletic at the Brandywell.

Danny Mullen scored a goal in each half for the hosts either side of a Pat Hoban strike.

Conor Keeley scored for the visitors but City hung on for victory.

Under perfect conditions in the north-west, it was the visitors who started the brighter, enjoying plentiful possession with the Candystripes happy to retreat and play on the counterattack. However, on 16 minutes it was City who opened the scoring through some superb team play.

The impressive Will Patching played the ball left for Ben Doherty, and he whipped in a fabulous cross to the edge of the six-yard area where Mullen arrived on-cue to volley home to the delight of the home crowd.

St.Pat’s Anto Breslin had his side’s first real opportunity on 28 minutes. Some indecisiveness in the home defence allowed the left-bank an opportunity at the back post but his shot was well blocked by the City defence.

Fifteen minutes later and the visitors came within inches of drawing level. Brandon Kavanagh cut inside from the right between two Derry defenders before unleashing a superb curling effort towards the far post, but his effort was superbly saved from City keeper Brian Maher at full stretch.

The second half exploded into life with three goals inside the opening 11 minutes.

Derry doubled their lead on 52 minutes when a shot from the left of Athletic’s box was saved by keeper Danny Rogers, but he could only direct the ball towards Hoban at the back post and he made no mistake with a simple finish.

But two minutes later St.Pats had one back. Kavanagh supplied the free-kick into the box from the left, and defender Keeley smashed a shot high into the City goal. However, Derry weren’t done and regained the two-goal cushion just 90 seconds later.

Patching delivered a free-kick from the left into the danger area where Cameron McJannett flicked the ball on for that man Mullen to nod in and grab his second of the evening.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of territory thereafter and on 82 minutes the influential Christopher Forrester almost grabbed a goal back, but his dipping effort from 20 yards was well saved by Maher down to his left.

Try as they may, St. Pats could not force a goal as Derry held on to pick up only their second win in their last seven games.