St. Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Richmond Park on Friday evening.
Liam Buckley named an unchanged eleven from last week. His men started in the ascendancy as Conan Byrne waltzed past three Sligo Rovers players and squared to namesake, Kurtis, who hit a tame effort at Micheal Schlingermann.
A corner for Pats after nice Conan Byrne play resulted in Darragh Markey crossing in dangerously but Schlingermann was there to pounce.
A minute later, the away side should of took the lead. Kurtis Byrne passed straight to Sligo's Jonah Ayunga, who failed to convert but forced O' Malley into a fine save.
After an injury scare to Kurtis Byrne halted play for a while, Sligo had a gilt-edged opportunity. Rory Feely passed straight to Sligo's Mikey Place who slid in Kieran Sadlier. Sadlier, instead of going for goal himself, squared it back to Place who could only glance the ball wide.
On 28 minutes, Sligo had an even better chance. A cross from the left found Place. His shot fell to Ayuna, who shot first time but Lee Desmond saved on the line to keep it scoreless.
In the 33rd minute, St Pats took the lead with a fine goal. Captain Ian Bermingham did trojan work on the left. He beat his man, swung in a beautiful cross for Christy Fagan who glanced his deflected header past the hapless Schlingermann.
At the break, Pat Cregg replaced Peers who went down with an injury in the first half but played on. It was a shame for the ex-Sligo captain, as he was playing well. Desmond dropped to centre half, as Cregg went to midfield.
The second half started nervously for The Saints. Rory Feely, who has had better games, miscued two passes which went straight to Sligo's attackers.
A decent opportunity for Sligo Rovers as man-of-the-match Sadlier cut in from the left and forced a nice save from Mayo man O' Malley.
Minutes later, another Sadlier piledriver trailed wide. The ever-lively Darragh Markey created two chances in two minutes but they came to nothing.
In the 59 minute, Barker cynically fouled Ayunga in the centre circle. Ayunga got himself booked too as he reacted angrily to the challenge.
Sadlier, again, found space 20 yards out and went close. His effort was just wide of the left-hand side of the goal.
Once more, the brilliant Sadlier beat his man and swung in an inviting cross for Liam Martin. But he could not connect properly with his header.
Conan Byrne then failed to tuck away a fantastic opportunity. A nice through ball by Kurtis Byrne put himself through with Schlingermann to beat. His shot was excellently saved by the ex-Drogheda United netminder though.
The Bit O’Red then had a fantastic chance to draw level. A Feely mistake allowed Sadlier in but he dragged his effort agonisingly wide from eight yards with only the keeper to beat.
Straight after that Liam Buckley's men should have made it 2-0.
Conan Byrne had his header cleared off the line by Donelan after a mix-up in the box.
In the 81st minute, Sligo manufactured an equaliser. Mick Leahy powered home a header from a corner on the right, which went in off the crossbar. Only a moment before, we witnessed a save-of-the-season contender as O' Malley saved a point blank header from Russell.
There was tense moments for either side after the equaliser with both sides spurning potential winning goals.
All in all though, a draw was a fair result based on the balance of play. Pats will be annoyed with conceding so late to miss out on the three points but it is hard to say Sligo didn’t deserve the point.
Both sides play next on Monday night - Pats away to Finn Harps and Sligo Rovers host Cork City at the Showgrounds.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O'Malley, Michael Barker, Gavin Peers ( Pat Cregg 45’), Rory Feely, Ian Bermingham ©, Graham Kelly (Sam Verdon 90’), Lee Desmond, Darragh Markey, Conan Byrne, Kurtis Byrne, Christy Fagan( JJ Lunney 82’)
Subs Not Used: Alex O'Hanlon, Josh O'Hanlon, Barry Murphy(GK), Billy Dennehy
Booked: Michael Barker (59') Darragh Markey (62') Graham Kelly (90')
Sligo Rovers: Schlingermann, Boylan, Leahy, Callan-McFadden, Donelon, Russell (C), Kenny, Martin, Sadlier, Place (Martin Walsh 90’), Ayunga
Subs Not Used: Raffaele Cretaro, Mark Hannon, Shaun Patton (GK) Craig Roddan
Booked: Jonah Ayunga (59') Liam Martin (83')
Referee: Paul Tuite
Attendance: 1300 (est)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Kieran Sadlier (Sligo Rovers)