Two goals from Premier Division top scorer Rory Patterson helped Derry City get back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over UCD in Belfield. 

The win keeps Derry's title challenge on track after the disappointment of last weekend's defeat to Sligo Rovers, which was then followed by their exit from the EA Sports Cup earlier this week. 

Patterson grabbed his 15th and 16th goals of the season in quick succession to give Derry a commanding lead at the break. 

Substitute Samir Belhout weaved his way through to strike back for the students in a spirited opening to the second half.

However, Michael Duffy completed the scoring when he grabbed Derry's third on the hour mark by finishing off a fine team move.

UCD boss Martin Russell brought in Gareth Matthews for the injured Robbie Benson, while Derry made four changes to the side that suffered cup defeat to Drogheda United.

In a lively opening, two chances came and went for Patterson, before Cillian Morrison fired wide from close range at the other end.

Derry looked the more dangerous in attack with Ruaidhri Higgins and David McDaid failing to convert the opportunities that came their way.

UCD were left reeling as Patterson struck twice in two minutes. Michael Duffy's pass opened up the home defence on 34 minutes and Patterson slotted the ball past 'keeper Mark McGinley.

The students were still coming to terms with the opening goal when Patterson fired home Paddy Kavanagh's cross sat the near post to double the lead.

The pace of Morrison and Dean Clarke kept the Derry defence busy and on the stroke of half-time Michael Leahy's header forced Ger Doherty into an excellent reaction save.

Belhout brought UCD back into the game with a fine individual goal on 54 minutes. The winger skipped through the visitor's defence and drilled the ball past Doherty.

Moments later, Craig Walsh burst into the box and forced Doherty to push his effort around the post as UCD pushed forward with intent.

The home side's hopes of a comeback were ended on the hour mark as Derry swept back into a two-goal lead once again.

Higgins's superb pass set Simon Madden free down the right. The attacking right-back's first-time cross was met forcibly at the far post by the onrushing Duffy.

The home side mounted several attacks in the final half hour, but Derry held out to stay in touch with the league leaders.

UCD: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas (Tomas Boyle 66), Michael Leahy, David O'Connor, Gareth Matthews; Cillian Morrison, Robbie Creevy (Barry McCabe 69), Craig Walsh, Michael Kelly (Samir Belhout h/t), Sean Russell; Dean Clarke.

Subs: Ger Barron, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Gary Burke, Thomas O’Halloran.

Booked: Douglas.

Derry City: Ger Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Ryan McBride, Eoghan Osborne; Paddy Kavanagh, Ruaidhri Higgins, Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy (Barry McNamee 89); David McDaid (Sean Houston 74), Rory Patterson.

Subs: Eugene Ferry, Barry Molloy, Mark Griffin, Thomas Crawley, Ryan Curran.

Booked: Shane McEleney, Houston.

Referee: Neil Doyle.