WILL Patching stole the show at the Belfield with two stunning goals and a man of the match performance as Derry City cruised past UCD.
The emphatic victory moved Ruaidhri Higgins troops to within four points of league leaders Shamrock Rovers with seven games remaining in the title race ahead of a crunch clash between City and the Hoops at Brandywell on September 15th.
The in-form Patching netted either side of the half-time interval with two sublime strikes before adding an assist for Brandon Kavanagh who also notched up a brace of goals in a comprehensive victory for the Foylesiders.
Scottish striker Danny Mullan got the ball rolling after just two minutes as he nipped in between two UCD defenders at the near post to nod home the impressive Paul McMullan's pinpoint cross.
It was the perfect start from the title chasing Candy Stripes who had raced out of the blocks.
UCD did have their chances and on six minutes Daniel Norris latched onto a long punt upfield by Jack Keaney and the winger cut inside before firing narrowly wide of the near post with his left foot.
Brian Maher, who produced a stunning performance in the 3-1 win over Dundalk last Friday at Oriel Park, was once again called into action and saved brilliantly with his chest to block Danu Kinsella-Bishop's strike when he was put clean through by a lovely threaded pass from Dara Keane who caught birthday boy Cameron McJannet napping.
Having narrowly missed the target with a strike from distance moments earlier, former Man City youth Patching then nonchalantly lobbed the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards after a cross from McMullan. It was a brilliant finish!
Four minutes later the ball was played wide on the left to Ben Doherty who took a touch before crossing dangerously towards the near post where Brandon Kavanagh nipped in front of his marker and steered the ball beyond the helpless Lorcan Healy to make it 3-0.
Derry added a fourth seven minutes into the second half and it was that man Patching again who received the ball from McMullan before taking the ball onto his left foot and curling into the corner of the net - his fourth goal in two games!
Patching turned provider 10 minutes later when he slotted into the path of Brandon Kavanagh who made his way into the penalty area and fired clinically into the net for his second of the match.
It was a professional display from the Candy Stripes who are on a run of six games unbeaten in the league and hot on the heels of Rovers after two wins in the space of five days.
UCD: Healy; Barr (O'Brien 77), Keaney, Wells, Osam; Keane, Verdon (Curtis 77); Brennan, Behan (Doyle 53), Norris (Higgins 53); Kinsella-Bishop (Raggett 53); Subs Not Used - Bowden, Moore, Clancy.
Derry City: Maher; Coll, S. McEleney, McJannet (Todd 59), Doherty; Diallo (McCay 71), O'Reilly (P McEleney 57), Patching (McEneff 60); McMullan, Mullen (C. Kavanagh 57), B. Kavanagh; Subs Not Used - Ryan, Duffy, McGonigle, McGinty.
Referee - David Dunne