Supersub Patterson seals glory for Derry
SOCCER: Derry City 3 St Patrick’s Ath 2: In a third year of high drama since the Aviva Stadium has hosted the decider, two goals from substitute Rory Patterson saw Derry City come from behind to win the FAI Cup.
In a virtual repeat of their classic 2006 final – which they won 4-3 – Derry prevailed once again in similarly wet and blustery conditions.
For St Patrick’s it was yet another one that got away, as their cup final curse continues, a seventh successive final defeat stretching their losing streak into a 52nd year.
The day belonged to Derry, though, and it was one tinged with poignancy for their goalkeeper Gerard Doherty.
The 31-year-old, between the posts when they lost on penalties in his only other final in 2008, played despite having been a pallbearer at his 86-year-old grandfather Jim McDaid’s funeral on the morning of the game before dashing to Dublin.
St Patrick’s started the better, with Chris Forrester skipping past Shane McEleney to shoot wide in the first opening of the game 14 minutes in.
Derry were similarly opened up for a second time when Christy Fagan fed the up-until-then quiet Seán O’Connor, whose cross fellow winger Jake Kelly sent looping over the top with a header from which he might have done much better.
Poor defending gave Derry their first sight of goal five minutes before the break. A punched clearance from Clarke dropped at the feet of Simon Madden on the right touchline. The cross was put promptly back into the area where David McDaid connected well with a spectacular overhead kick, though it flew way over the bar.
After the sides had escaped a half-time rain deluge, the game thankfully sprung to life early in the second half as St Patrick’s took the lead after 52 minutes.
Derry left-back Dermot McCaffrey was booked for a foul on Forrester some 25 yards out. O’Connor expertly curled the free-kick to the top corner with Doherty scarcely moving.
The subdued Derry contingent didn’t have long to wait for a riposte as negligent defending by St Patrick’s resulted in their side drawing level within two minutes; central defender Stewart Greacen rising to score with a downward header from Barry McNamee’s free-kick.
On from the 59th minute, Patterson worked Clarke from distance before Doherty produced the save of the game on 66 minutes, diving full stretch to push another O’Connor free-kick round a post.
But a blunder from St Patrick’s Clarke gifted Derry the lead two minutes later. The keeper’s attempted return ball to Conor Kenna from his skipper’s back pass went straight to the inrushing Stephen McLaughlin. In trying to retrieve the situation, Clarke pushed the Derry winger to the ground to concede a penalty. Patterson calmly sent him the wrong way from the spot.
Chasing the game now, St Patrick’s were almost caught on the break as McLaughlin broke to McDaid, whose shot was blocked by Ian Bermingham, with Kenna then foiling McNamee’s follow-up.
St Patrick’s availed of the reprieve, as their late pressure brought them an 87th minute equaliser. Doherty initially did well to palm away a header from his own captain Kevin Deery from Ger O’Brien’s cross. O’Connor latched onto the loose ball to cross for Fagan to tap home from close range.
A brave save at the feet of Vinny Faherty by Doherty from O’Brien’s through ball ensured extra-time.
Sadly for St Patrick’s, another defensive mistake provided Derry with the opening for their winner in the final minute of the first half of extra-time.
Ruaidhrí Higgins helped on Doherty’s clearance, with defender Kenny Browne’s sliced header falling kindly for Patterson who controlled the ball on his chest before volleying home
Clarke redeemed his earlier mistake with a point-blank stop from McLaughlin and Patterson then thought he’d got his hat-trick in the dying minutes, but it was rightly ruled out for offside from McDaid’s pass.
FAI Cup Final: By the numbers
0 - Number of shots on target in first-half.
5 - Goals scored thereafter and the number of times Derry City have captured the FAI Cup, three this century.
16,117 - Yesterday’s attendance
52 - Years St Pat’s are waiting to bring the cup to Inchicore.
8 - Number of FAI Cup finals St Pats have now lost ( they’ve won two).