Unhappy return for Liam Buckley as first half goals gives Saints the win

In a week that began in abject defeat to Derry City at the same venue, St Patrick’s produced one of their best displays of the campaign back at Richmond Park to mark the news on Thursday that they look to have a back door entry into the Europa League this summer.

Unhappy return for Liam Buckley as first half goals gives Saints the win

[team1]St Patrick’s Athletic[/team1][score1]2[/score1][team2]Sligo Rovers[/team2][score2]1[/score2][/score]

In a week that began in abject defeat to Derry City at the same venue, St Patrick’s produced one of their best displays of the campaign back at Richmond Park to mark the news on Thursday that they look to have a back door entry into the Europa League this summer.

It was an unhappy first return to Inchicore for Liam Buckley as his Sligo side were totally outplayed in the first half by his former club as they laid the foundation for this deserved victory.

A dour opening to the game was ended by a moment of opportunism from Chris Forrester who sparked it to life on 15 minutes.

Sligo central defender John Mahon miscontrolled a long ball over the top with his chest.

It ran loose into the path of Forrester who nonchalantly lobbed it over ‘keeper Mitchell Beeney for his first goal for the club since his cross channel return.

Mikey Drennan worked Beeney when bustling past the sluggish Lewis Banks from the right before further sloppy defending cost Sligo a second goal on 24 minutes.

Drennan again got away to cut past Mahon only for the young defender to clumsily bring him down inside the area.

Calmness personified from the spot, Drennan sent Beeney the wrong way from 12 yards for his fourth goal of the season.

With St Pat’s totally dominant, Beeney needed to make a smart 38th minute save from Conor Clifford drive from distance.

Frantic defending then thwarted St Pat’s a minute before the interval.

Drennan, skipper Ian Bermingham and Clifford were all involved before Forrester’s shot was bravely blocked by Rovers' left-back Banks.

St Pat’s remained in control into the second half with the hardworking Clifford and the impressive Forrester trying their luck form distance.

Gary Shaw was then inches from extending St Patrick’s winning margin on 81 minutes, his header from Clifford’s cross shaving the bar.

Though St Pat’s remained on top, they had to endure a nervous finish when Sligo skipper David Cawley drilled home from close range from Lewis Banks’ assist two minutes from time for the visitors' consolation.

By then, Harry Kenny's side had done more than enough to earn the three points.

St Patrick’s Athletic: B. Clarke; Webster, Kelly, Desmond; Madden, Forrester (Coleman, 79), McCabe, Clifford, Bermingham; Drennan, Shaw (Walker, 90+2).

Sligo Rovers: Beeney; Dunleavy, Leverock, Mahon, Banks; Morahan (Twardeck, h-t), Cawley; Keaney (Warde, 76), Fordyce (Kerrigan, 69), Coughlan; Parkes.

Referee: Rob Hennessy.

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