St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Sligo Rovers 1: Brendan Clarke kept St Patrick’s in the match at one end before Christy Fagan worked the oracle at the other once again to deprive Sligo Rovers of a first win of the season.
This fully deserved point for Dave Robertson’s side does lift Sligo off the foot of the table, overnight at least, on goal difference.
But in truth this performance by the westerners should have brought that elusive first victory as St Pat’s struggled once again at home.
St Pat’s enjoyed plenty of possession in the early exchanges.
A seventh-minute corner was all Liam Buckley’s side had to show for it, though, as David Cawley headed wide from Graham Kelly’s delivery.
And it was Sligo, from their first corner of the game four minutes later, who were very close to snatching the lead from their first attack.
Kieran Sadlier’s ball dropped for John Russell on the edge of the area and his shot was cleared off the line by Billy Dennehy.
Clarke was there again to rescue St Pat’s with the stop of the first half on 32 minutes.
Jimmy Keohane and Sadlier worked the ball in from the left. Clarke went full stretch to touch Gordon’s diving header round a post with a superb one-handed save.
Sligo’s pressing first-half display deserved a goal and it duly came on 41 minutes.
Sadler won a free kick from a foul by Darren Dennehy. The striker’s dead ball drive was merely parried away by Clarke diving to his right. Sligo defender Gary Boylan was alive to the loose ball, reacting quickest to rifle home the rebound.
St Pat’s suffered a further setback when losing skipper Ger O’Brien to injury just minutes into the second half.
And, yet again, they had Clarke to thank for preventing another Sligo goal on 55 minutes.
Sadlier’s cross found Keohane who brought a fine reaction stop from Clarke.
Keohane got the ball straight back from the rebound, though, with Clarke racing off his line to make a second smother save.
It proved crucial as St Pat’s finally sprung to life, Keith Treacy driving a powerful shot narrowly wide, before they equalised on 65 minutes.
A sublime cross in from the left by Ian Birmingham was met by Fagan whose header arrowed to the corner of Micheal Schlingermann’s net for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Sligo remained unbowed and continued to contribute to an end-to-end encounter, Darren Dennehy getting back to make a tenacious 77th minute block on Keohane’s goal-bound shot.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC:
Clarke; O’Brien (Barker, 50), McEleney, D. Dennehy, Bermingham; Treacy (Verdon, 86); Cawley, Kelly (Byrne, 78); Timlin, Fagan, B. Dennehy.
Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Boylan, Donelon; Keohane, Roddan, Russell (Richards, 70), Martin; Sadlier (Place, 87); Gordon (Cretaro, 71).
Neil Doyle (Dublin).
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