St. Patrick’s Athletic have kept their hopes of a European finish alive with a 3-1 win over Derry City.
The Candystripes needed just a point to confirm their place in the top four, but slumped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
James Doona’s late double has taken the battle for Europa League qualification to the last day of the season.
Derry now need to claim a point at home against Finn Harps in their final Premier Division game of the season.
Declan Devine’s men are two points clear of St. Pat’s – who still have to play Dundalk at Oriel Park – heading into the last round of fixtures.
That’s full time. Brilliant 3-1 win. Fully deserved after a terrific performance all night. Huge thanks to those supporters. who made the long trip up tonight 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— St Patrick’s Athletic FC (@stpatsfc) October 22, 2019
After a dull, scoreless first half in Derry, it was the hosts who took the lead in the 53rd minute through David Parkhouse.
The striker applied a simple finish from close range to open the scoring after good work from Ciaran Coll on the left wing.
Stephen O’Donnell’s visitors drew level eight minutes later when Chris Forrester found the bottom corner with a precise low finish following a poor clearance from Derry’s Eoin Toal.
Doona then gave the Dublin club the lead 11 minutes from time, running on to Jake Walker’s pass before finishing past Peter Cherrie.
The substitute doubled his tally four minutes later, cutting inside Jamie McDonagh and rifling the ball into the net after another pass from Walker.
St. Pat’s now need to defeat league champions Dundalk in Louth and hope that Finn Harps claim victory in Derry.
A draw will be enough for Derry, given their vastly superior goal difference (+18 versus St. Pat’s’ -2).
With a promotion/relegation play-off approaching, it remains to be seen what type of team Harps boss Ollie Horgan fields against the Candystripes.
The search for the point to secure European football continues, with @FinnHarpsFC the visitors on Friday for the final game of the season.
— Derry City FC (@derrycityfc) October 22, 2019