St. Patrick’s Athletic have done all they can to keep the pressure on Sligo Rovers, with a resounding 5-0 win and a thumping second half. The Saints scored four after the break, adding to Jake Kelly’s opener in the first half, leaving UCD battered and bruised on a windy night in Inchicore.
The opening exchanges could hardly be described as frantic however, but both sides did have chances. Firstly Paul O’Connor had a long range shot deflected before his team mate Dave McMillan was adjudged to be offside. UCD were to go close again, but Danny Ledwith’s sumptuous cross was headed harmlessly into Saints net minder Barry Murphy’s arms.
St. Pat's took the lead just after the quarter hour, through winger Jake Kelly. Kelly was played in sublimely by midfield man Chris Forrester, and the former Bray attacker coolly curled the ball around the lunging Ger Barron into the corner of the net. Just two minutes later, Jake Kelly had an identical chance, but this time his effort was abruptly stopped by the foot of the post, and the ball trickled harmlessly back across the six yard box before being cleared.
The home side continued to boss the game for the next few minutes, and Chris Forrester nearly made it two with a cheeky effort from 30 yards. He received the ball from Ryan Coombes and ,after a nice swivel, he attempted to lob UCD stopper Ger Barron however the keeper recovered his position and made a relatively easy claim.
The game then descended into a period of lull, with St Pat’s looking to get Ian Bermingham and Jake Kelly in down the left, whilst UCD were charging from the midfield through Paul O’Connor and Robbie Benson primarily.
Robbie Benson almost claimed an equaliser five minutes before half time, but his long range right footed effort was turned around the post by Barry Murphy. The resulting corner was dropped into the six yard box by Danny Ledwith, but nobody could connect in a light blue shirt, and the ball floated by.
UCD had another decent chance before the break, but again it was McMillan who could only fire over on his weaker left foot from 18 yards.
It was into the second half before St. Pat’s would next threaten the UCD goal. Jake Kelly passed out wide to Anto Flood, but his cross was handled into the net by Ryan Coombes, who received a yellow card for his efforts.
Despite the poor opening to the second half, St Pat’s didn’t have to wait long for a second. Just before the hour, a precise Kenny Browne pass to the feet of Anto Flood was expertly flicked into the path of Vinny Faherty, who couldn’t miss as he squeezed the ball under Ger Barron into the net.
UCD responded with three changes and a sharp break on 65 minutes. Ciaran Nangle’s angled effort was deflected and Barry Murphy claimed well.
St. Pat's extended their lead just a minute later. Chris Forrester was instrumental as his chip hit the post, but it was eventually nodded home by Vinny Faherty, claiming his second goal of the game.
St. Pat's were now in cruise control, and Anto Flood went close with a curling effort from just outside the box, which could only reach the side netting.
Flood was to get his goal though. It was superb work by man of the match Chris Forrester teeing up the big striker for a six yard finish into an empty net. The Saints rounding off and excellent fifteen minute spell, which had seen three goals.
With ten minutes on the clock, young Gavin Boyne was handed a debut for St Pat’s. By this stage, UCD had all but given up. Vinny Faherty had time to polish off his hat trick, with just five minutes to play. A nice finish from Faherty after UCD failed to clear the ball.
With the final whistle fast approaching, UCD were made chase by St. Pat's who rounded off the victory with neat passing and excellent ball retention, doing all they can to keep Sligo on their toes with the season fast petering out.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Barry Murphy; Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne, Aidan Price, Ian Bermingham; Ryan Coombes (Gavin Boyne, 80), Christopher Forrester, Jake Carroll; Vinny Faherty, Anto Flood (Stephen O’Flynn, 80), Jake Kelly (Dean Kelly, 73).
Subs Not Used: Brendan Clarke, Sean Hoare, Kevin Farragher, Darren Meenan.
Booked: Flood (26), Coombes (55).
UCD: Ger Barron; Hugh Douglas (Chris Lyons, 60), Micheal Leahy, David O’Connor, Ciaran Nangle; Dean Clarke (James Kavanagh, 60), Barry McCabe (Chris Mulhall, 60), Robbie Benson, Paul O’Conor, Danny Ledwith; David McMillan.
Subs Not Used: Mark McGinley, Mark Langtry, Samir Belhout, Gary Burke.
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Chris Forrester (St Patrick's Athletic).
Damien Byrne joined the Extratime.ie team for the 2012 season. He is a Dublin based freelance reporter who is partial to a Friday in Richmond Park, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @damienbyrne92