Derry City were unlucky not to break their duck on Friday night with yet another chance at winning maximum points going begging. It ended nil all as Roddy Collins’ men hosted league champions St. Patrick’s Athletic at the Brandywell.
A goalless draw means a third straight draw at home for the Foylesiders, who will feel hard done by having seen the best chance of the match go begging in the dying embers of a game that at times was ill tempered and short on chances.
Michael Duffy, who recently signed a new contract with the Candystripes, saw a 93rd minute effort tipped over the bar by Pats ‘keeper Brendan Clarke. If such an effort had gone in it would have seen Derry’s fortunes transformed, instead the wait goes on for a first SSE Airtricity Premier League victory.
All in all, honors even seems a fair result. Friday night’s game was an entertaining draw even if it lacked the necessary goals and attacking football most fans at the game would have wanted. City should probably count their blessings as the visitors were denied what looked like a nail-on penalty in the first half. St. Pats striker Christy Fagan was brought down in the Derry penalty area by the towering figure of Ryan McBride only for the referee Paul McLaughlin to wave play on, much to the consternation of the travelling support.
Derry started the game quite brightly but saw that early impetus fade as current league-holders Pats came back with long-range efforts from Chris Forrester and former Derry player Killian Brennen. Both shots parried and caught respectively by the freshly recalled Ger Doherty.
Attacking highlights for the home side were restricted to the wider areas as the game went on with Derry wide men Dean Jarvis and Mark Stewart constantly running at their opposite numbers and attempting to centre the ball to the waiting Rory Patterson. A lot of effort with so little result demoralising an anxious home support.
As the game wore on play opened up somewhat. Derry forcing late corners that almost saw a vital breakthrough, indeed last season’s top goalscorer for the home side, Rory Patterson, should have scored a late winner, but the Derry striker blasted over from 12 yards.
All in all a fair result on the night, with both sides coming away with what will be seen on both sides as a vital point in a long and highly competitive league campaign.