Tolka Park witnessed an eventful Dublin derby as St Patrick’s Athletic defeated Shelbourne 2-0 on Monday night. Two second half goals gave them a deserved win against a Shelbourne team that put in another disappointing home performance.
The Drumcondra side wanted a positive start after their last home game which saw them lose limply to Derry City. However, it was Pat’s that got the first chance of the game. Sean O’Connor had a shot from the edge of the box which brought a good save from Chris Bennion in the Shels goal.
This chance stung Shels into action and a sixth minute corner almost gave them a chance to take the lead. The corner taken by Stephen Hurley fell to Anto Murphy. His shot was blocked by Pat’s new boy Hernany Macedo with his hand. Somehow referee Anthony Buttimer missed it and the team from Inchicore had a lucky escape.
Shelbourne continued to exert pressure and Barry Murphy almost spilled a 12th minute free. Five minutes later, Shels amazingly had another shout for a handball. This time it was a David Cassidy shot which was blocked down by Conor Kenna. However, on this occasion it was ball to hand, as given the distance from the shot there was little Kenna could do to avoid contact with the ball.
Shels had Barry Murphy worried again in the Pats goal on 20 minutes as they continued to create chances. Barry Clancy powerful shot went just wide as Murphy looked beaten.
Pat’s had rarely threatened the Shels’ goal since their opening chance but Darren Meenan almost scored a stunning opener on 24 minutes as his volley from 25 yards hit the crossbar. They followed this up with a training ground set-piece that was taken short to Sean O’Connor in the box. His shot beat Chris Bennion but not Ian Ryan, who heroically cleared off the line.
As the half progressed Pat’s started to wrestle control of the game as their slick passing game forced Shels backwards. Despite not creating any clear chances in the closing period of the first half, Pat’s looked like the team in the ascendancy as the referee blew the half-time whistle, to bring an eventful first-half to an end.
Pat’s continued their dominance at the start of the second half and created the first chance on 52 minutes. Christy Fagan fed Sean O’Connor inside the box but his shot was saved smartly by Bennion at his near post.
The game started to descend into a scrappy affair and it was not until the 65th minute that either side created another chance. A Philly Hughes header fell to second-half substitute Conan Byrne. His shot from outside the box went just wide.
Despite the perseverance from Shels it was St Pat’s that always looked to have the extra touch of class and on 70 minutes they broke the deadlock. A cross from Sean O’Connor on the right who had caused Shels problems all evening, found Christy Fagan in the box. He dispatched his header to the bottom corner to give Pat’s a deserved lead.
Shels continued to push forward but with little menace. On 83 minutes Ian Ryan blasted a shot over the bar after David Cassidy found him in space with a great pass. Ryan’s wild blast was typical of what Shels were offering in front of goal.
One minute later saw an incident that threatened to make this Dublin derby boil over. Anto Murphy kicked Sean O’Connor off the ball and followed it up with a push to his face. The St Pats’ man did fall dramatically to the ground but there was no doubt that Anthony Buttimer had to produce a red card for Anto Murphy.
This effectively ended any chance the Reds had and the night was actually to get worse for them as they were exposed again as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser. Pat’s had two chances in injury time, the first which fell to second-half substitute Chris Forrester. He seemed to be clear in on goal, but Chris Bennion raced out to smother his shot.
But the hosts luck ran out four minutes into injury time when again they were caught on the break. O’Connor crossed and Bennion gambled as he left his line. Vinny Faherty won the race for the ball and headed into an empty net.
The travelling fans rejoiced at the final whistle, as their team gained another valuable win. This victory for the Pat’s brings another season of European football ever closer. Shelbourne had another disappointing night at home and their season seems to be petering out to a disappointing conclusion.
Shelbourne: Chris Bennon; Ian Ryan, Andy Boyle, Stephen Paisley, Sean Byrne (Paul Byrne, 83); Anto Murphy, Kevin Dawson, Stephen Hurley, Barry Clancy (Conan Byrne, 56); David Cassidy, Philip Hughes (Philip Gorman, 68).
Subs not used: Paul Skinner (GK), Gareth Matthews, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Brian Shortall.
Bookings: Paisley (4), Dawson (13).
Sendings Off: Murphy (84).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Barry Murphy; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Jake Carroll; Darren Meenan (Chris Forrester, 68), Hernany Macedo (Ryan Coombes, 46), James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Sean O’Connor; Christy Fagan (Vinny Faherty, 83).
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke (GK), Aidan Price, Ian Bermingham, Pat Flynn.
Bookings: Macedo (11), O’Connor (78), Forrester (90+5).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Sean O’Connor (St Patrick's Ath).
Paul Walsh is a part-time freelance journalist based in Dublin and freelancing for a number of publications. Follow him on twitter @walshpots