St Patrick’s Athletic 0 Sligo Rovers 0
Sligo Rovers rode their luck on occasion to claim a precious point against St Patrick’s Athletic in this entertaining Airtricity League Premier Division encounter at Inchicore last night.
Despite a third minute raid involving Alan Keane and Seamus Conneely, the league leaders struggled to impose themselves, with James Chambers the game’s most influential performer in the hosts’ midfield.
A number of corners inside the opening quarter caused a degree of discomfort for Gary Rogers on a difficult night for handling as Sligo rode out the early storm with gradual comfort. Joseph Ndo became increasingly influential as the contest evolved, looking to make use of Seamus Conneely and Mark Quigley at every opportunity, and it was the Cameroonian who instigated the first clear-cut chance for Sligo in the 20th minute.
It arrived from a free-kick from 40 yards that was curled in by Ndo onto the head of Gavin Peers, who failed to replicate his scoring exploits from last Friday against Shelbourne, as he planted a header straight at Barry Murphy from six yards.
The visitors derived confidence from that chance and looked far more relaxed defensively in dealing with a St Patrick’s side that looked bereft of ideas despite enjoying a bountiful amount of possession.
Jake Carroll was a constant attacking outlet for the hosts as the half progressed, but the final telling pass eluded the Dubliners.
O’Connor maintained that theme of wastefulness within a minute of the resumption as he crossed straight into the hands of Rogers following an intricate through ball by Christopher Forrestal. At the opposite end, Sligo looked sporadically threatening with Quigley finding the overlapping Ross Gaynor in the 51st minute, but the left full-back’s shot from 30 yards was directed too close to Murphy, who gathered comfortably.
Sligo’s attacking impetus was increased thanks to the introduction of Lee Lynch in place of David Cawley on the hour and Lynch could have done better when working a shooting position for himself before a tame effort straight at Murphy spoiled a promising attack.
In the 73rd minute, substitute Jake Kelly made an instant impact with a slide-rule ball to Christy Fagan, whose rushed attempt when through on goal was dragged two yards wide of Rogers’ right-hand upright.
Fagan was again culpable three minutes later as Ian Bermingham raced clear beyond Alan Keane but his inviting cross was bundled wide by the inrushing Fagan from six yards.
Liam Buckley’s last throw of the dice was the introduction of Ryan Coombes 10 minutes from time and the substitute almost made the breakthrough immediately with a cracking drive from 20 yards that Rogers held well.
However, the Bit O’Red almost left with the points but Murphy excelled in diving to his left to deny Danny Ventre after Sligo’s captain had headed a superb cross from Lynch towards the bottom left corner a minute from time.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Murphy; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Forrester (Kelly 70), Chambers (Coombes 81), Carroll, Bolger, O’Connor (Meenan 66); Fagan.
SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane, McGuinness, Peers, Gaynor; Conneely, Ventre, Ndo, Cawley (Lynch 61), Boco; Quigley (Buchanan 90).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)
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