St. Patrick's Athletic -v- Derry CitySun, Sep 02 2012
ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC
This is the very essence of a 'must win' game for the Saints. Three points here would bring them level with third placed Shamrock Rovers on 39, eight points behind league leaders Sligo Rovers. And all this with just eight games left to play. However slight St Pat's title hopes may be, they will certainly not survive a defeat against Derry, nor even a draw.
Liam Buckley enters the game without the injured Mark Rossiter and with a doubt hanging over the availability of John Russell who has an ankle injury. He will also have to do without Darren Meenan who is suspended.
Pats' recent form has been patchy with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six league outings. They have also managed just three goals in this sequence, although Buckley will be pleased to note that his defence has conceded just once in their last four games.
More worryingly Pats haven't won any of their last three home games, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Drogheda United back in mid July, which they followed with a 1-0 defeat to Bray. Their latest home game saw them earn a 0-0 draw with table toppers Sligo
Derry City are deeply unhappy about the timing of this game, which sees them make a second trip to Dublin in four days, though their mood will have been somewhat improved by their 2-0 win over Shelbourne at Tolka Park on Friday night.
This encounter sees them looking to achieve back to back wins in the league for the first time since they beat Bohemians and then Bray in May, a pair of games which also took place over a four day period.
Declan Devine will be without Rory Patterson and Owen Morrison, who are both injured, and striker Davy McDaid who is suspended. McDaid has been in decent form lately, scoring three of Derry last six league goals.
But Devine will be quietly pleased that his side's general form has seen an improvement of late. In what has been a difficult first season in charge, Derry have laboured in the upper regions of mid table without ever positioning themselves for a serious pop at the leading pack.
But two wins and a draw from their last three league games sees them line up for a belated tilt at European qualification.
Speaking before the game Devine said “Liam's (Buckley) teams are hard to break down on a normal match night. The fact that they will be well rested having not played for seven days will make it even more of a task. But if we can continue to perform as we have over the last four games we have every chance to come away with all three points.”
Referee: Rob Rogers.
This is only the second league meeting of these sides this season. St Pats won the first encounter 2-0 with the goals coming from Darren Meenan and Sean O'Connor.
Derry have not lost away from home in the league since Drogheda United beat them 2-0 all the way back in late March.
St Pats' top scorer this season is Christy Fagan who has netted nine in the league along with four cup goals. Derry's top marksman is Stephen McLaughlin who also has nine league strikes, but has managed five in the cups.
St Pats 5/6; Draw 12/5; Derry 3/1.
Everything about this game cries out that it will be a draw: 1-1.
St Pats Injury News: Mark Rossiter (knee) - John Russell (doubt - ankle).
St Pats Suspension News: Darren Meenan.
Derry Injury News: Rory Patterson (hamstring), Owen Morrison (groin).
Derry Suspension News: David McDaid.
Simon O'Gorman began reporting for Extratime in 2010. He remembers Milltown and Flower Lodge and, back in the mists of time, saw Diego Maradona play at Lansdowne Road. He now lives in Co Kildare and reports on Shamrock Rovers among others. Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org