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St. Patrick's Athletic put in a resounding display on Friday night to get their first win of the new season with a 3-0 win over Bray Wanderers in front of their home supporters at Richmond Park.
The game began in an explosive manner as Pat’s raced into a 2-0 lead with only five minutes played. Those early goals from Killian Brennan and Chris Forrester effectively put the game to bed before it had got going with Christy Fagan wrapping up the win in the second half.
The first goal came when Pats' Greg Bolger raced through the Bray defence from midfield before cutting inside and being brought down inside the Bray box to earn his side a penalty. Brennan, back after being suspended from the opening league game, stepped up to the task putting the ball confidently passed Bray ‘keeper Stephen McGuinness after just four minutes of play.
The Saints doubled their lead almost immediately as Pat’s captain on the night Ian Bermingham got up the left flank before driving a low cross to find team-mate Forrester who dispatched the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-0.
The chaos of the opening few minutes continued but this time it was Bray who offered a response to Pats' early blitz.
A defensive mix-up by Pat’s centre-back Sean Hoare, making his first appearance of the new season having missed last Friday's showdown with Shamrock Rovers through suspension, put Bray striker Chris Lyons in one-on-one with Brendan Clarke. However the forward's effort dragged narrowly wide of the Pat’s goal.
The Seagulls effectively solidified defensively after conceding those two early goals, with Bray becoming more resolute and disciplined as the game went on, being led by the commanding presence of captain Alan McNally.
The game lost much of its initial vigour as the tie proceeded with Pat’s maintaining the lion's share of possession throughout the rest of the first half. Bray did offer some advances of their own with captain McNally providing a constant threat from set pieces for the visitors.
The Saints firm grip of the tie carried on into the second half, with Liam Buckley's side persistent on playing the ball along the ground, with Sean Hoare and James Chambers providing a consistent supply of passes in behind the defence to Fagan.
The lone striker looked a constant threat all game but was caught offside on more than one occasion. Pressing the Bray defence all game, the forward's eagerness became too much with the player earning himself a yellow card for a deliberate hand-ball.
However the PFAI Player of the Year's break came on the hour mark as a Bolger's through-ball found Chambers. The midfielder’s low cross found an unmarked Fagan who tapped the ball readily passed McGuinness into the back of the Bray net.
Fagan was let loose again minutes later as a Conan Byrne through ball put the striker in one-one-one, however this time the Bray ‘keeper stood tall to save the forward's chipped effort at goal.
Bray came back into the affair when a Luke Gallagher shot was forced out to find midfielder Ryan McEvoy who put the ball passed Clarke. However the forward's goal was ruled out by the linesman for offside.
Late efforts from Ciaran Kilduff and substitute Aaron Greene came close to extending the Saints' lead to four, however the goal never came.
With the two early goals effectively killing the match off as a contest before it even began, Bray can at least take positives in light of their defensive solidity in the final hour of the game. Pat’s however will be satisfied to put three points on the board after two consecutive defeats.
Their confident display showed much of the familiar possession orientated football and attack-focussed play that served them well thoughout last two succesful season.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne (Cyril Guedje 86), James Chambers, Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan, Chris Forrester (Aaron Greene 83); Christy Fagan (Ciaran Kilduff 68).
Subs not used: Conor O'Malley (gk), Lee Desmond, Sam Verdon, Jamie McGrath.
Bookings: Fagan (27), Forrester (63), Greene (93).
Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness; Michael Barker, Alan McNally, Daniel O'Reilly, Jack Memery; David Scully (Hugh Douglas 68), Luke Gallagher, Graham Kelly, Ryan McEvoy, Peter McGlynn (Emeka Onwubiko 90); Chris Lyons (Gareth McDonagh 76).
Subs not used: Brian Kane (gk), Niall Cooney, Peter Durrad, Adam Mitchell.
Bookings: Barker (87), G Kelly (90).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Ian Bermingham (St. Patrick's Atheltic).