League Report: St. Patrick’s Athletic 1 – 1 Derry City
Rónán MacNamara reports from Richmond Park
A game where both sides capitalised on their respective purple patches saw a late Joe Redmond header snatch a share of the spoils for his team against FAI Cup holders Derry City at a sold-out Richmond Park.
A strange game was typified by a bizarre Jordan McEneff opener in the 32nd minute. After a bursting run the 22-year-old saw his effort from the edge of the box loop over Pats goalkeeper David Odumosu to give Ruaidhri Higgins’ side a deserved lead.
While the Athletic offered precious little from open play throughout, a catalogue of corners finally saw them break the Derry rear-guard and claim a point on the opening night which will certainly please a fired up Tim Clancy more than it will Higgins.
The Derry boss will take little consolation in the fact his charges are five unbeaten against the Inchicore outfit.
Clancy handed debuts to Noah Lewis, Thomas Lonergan and Vladislav Kreida while former Saint Adam O’Reilly made his debut for the Candystripes as did Fulham loanee Ollie O’Neill who joined on Thursday. The latter debut only came after Michael Duffy pulled up in the warm up before kick off.
The first 15 minutes will be best remembered for what happened on the touchline as Pat’s gaffer Clancy went wandering along the line after Derry stopper Brian Maher went down off the ball.
Coincidentally that gave Higgins a few moments to rally his troops and switch some of his personnel as O’Neill went into the number ten position with Jamie McGonigle moving to the left and McEneff to the right with Ryan Graydon now leading the line.
The move paid dividends as the Candystripes, donning a wasp-like yellow and black shirt seized control of proceedings.
Ireland U21 international O’Neill arrived 24 hours prior to the season kick off and to much fanfare. He began to flex his muscles, playing a defence splitting pass in behind Tom Grivosti for Graydon to run on to but Odumosu who endured an eventful opening period, came flying out to deny him in the 25th minute.
That instigated a fine spell of play for the FAI Cup holders with Odumosu almost going from hero to villain. Having collected Shane McEleney’s loose pass outside the area, under no pressure he hashed at the ball playing it straight to O’Neill who saw his chip headed clear by the backtracking Redmond.
But Derry would make their pressure pay as the Richmond Park faithful and Clancy – who was booked – grew vehemently frustrated with referee Rob Harvey and fourth official Gavin Colfer.
Just after the half hour, McEneff pounced to pick the pocket of Redmond in transition and drove at goal. He turned down the chance to slip in McGonigle and under pressure from Kreida he half slipped and saw the ball loop over Odumosu from the edge of the box via his standing foot.
Saints were largely lethargic for the opening half but did end it with their best spell with Jamie Lennon having a goalbound effort blocked before Mark Doyle glanced wide at the back post.
Little changed in the opening ten minutes of the second period so former Nottingham Forest and QPR midfielder Jake Mulraney was summoned from the bench. The former Crumlin schoolboy was given a rousing reception as he arrived home from his excursions in the MLS with Orlando City.
The second half passed without much in the way of chances. As the minutes ticked by the home support grew enraged with referee Harvey for not brandishing yellow cards.
In truth, Pats were ponderous in possession with little urgency but did manage to draw the loudest cheer of the night after Derry midfielder Will Patching finally saw a yellow, cue a standing ovation from much of the sold out 4,789 crowd.
Yellows are like buses, you wait 82 minutes for one and three come along in three minutes for Derry.
Mulraney made a difference when he came on if only his set pieces, his wicked delivery was flicked away from Maher which coincided with a flurry of Pats corners.
After four successive corner kicks, Kreida’s inswinger was bundled home by Saints skipper Redmond two minutes from time as he wrestled off the attentions of Mark Connolly at the near post and got a sufficient enough touch to turn it home.
Remarkably it was title chasing Derry who were hanging on at the end for a result as Pats continued to pile on the pressure with further set pieces but to no avail as the points were shared in Inchicore.
St. Patrick's Athletic: David Odumosu; Anto Breslin, Sam Curtis, Tom Grivosti, Noah Lewis, Joe Redmond; Mark Doyle (Jake Mulraney 52), Chris Forrester (Conor Carty 73), Vladislav Kreida, Jamie Lennon; Thomas Lonergan (Eoin Doyle 73).
Subs not used: Danny Rogers, Thijs Timmermans, Serge Atakayi, Jason McClelland, Ben McCormack.
Booked: Tim Clancy (26), Chris Forrester (31), Noah Lewis (71).
Derry City: Brian Maher; Ciaran Coll, Mark Connolly, Shane McEleney, Cameron McJannet (Ronan Boyce 44); Ryan Graydon, Oliver O'Neill, Adam O'Reilly, Will Patching; Jordan McEneff (Cian Kavanagh 70), Jamie McGonigle (Brandon Kavanagh 70).
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Ben Doherty, Patrick McEleney, Matthew Ward.
Booked: Ronan Boyce (83) ,Patrick McEleney (85) Will Patching (82).
Referee: Robert Harvey.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Adam O’Reilly (Derry City)