Date: 7:45 p.m. July 23, 2011
Venue: The Showgrounds
The first-half was very much stop-start with neither side really having any clear cut chances. In the opening few minutes, the game resembled ballet school as Joseph Ndo was twisting and turning his way around Shane McFaul and Dave Mulcahy. Soon after, he kept the crowd cheerful with a fantastic brave back heel flick.
As expected, The Saints were playing some strong passing football in midfield causing the first-half to be more of a midfield battle than anything else really. Sligo’s first real chance came when Joseph Ndo released Alan Kirby down the left. Kirby played the ball in to the box but Gary Rogers got there just in time to collect the ball before Matthew Blinkhorn could get near.
Danny North was a constant threat for Pats and got himself in to several good positions to score but none of those moves were successful. His first chance came after he took the ball off Richie Ryan and pushed forward but shot just wide of Brendan Clarke’s goal. Shortly after, the Grimsby man was helped by Dave Mulcahy and they worked the ball past several Rovers players. North fired well over the goals with his long-range effort. Sligo caused panic in front of Gary Rogers as the Pats defence seemed to get mixed up. Matthew Blinkhorn couldn’t get enough on the ball to cause any trouble for Rogers.
A superb tackle from Jason McGuinness on Daryl Kavanagh dispossessed Pats after their movement forward. Another piece of fantastic defending prevented another possible goal. Derek Pender threw his body in front of a shot by Eoin Doyle to prevent Sligo taking the lead. Just before half-time, Anto Murphy took down the ball fantastically to pass to Danny North but he blasted his effort wide.
The second half was just as lively as the first. The Saints defence were showing excellent awareness as they blocked every Sligo ball with any body part that they could get at it. The Bit O’ Red had plenty of half chances but their best came on the 63rd minute when fantastic build up play lead to Alan Kirby’s swinging effort go just wide. Alan Keane put in a perfect cross later which forced Gary Rogers in to action.
Pete Mahon’s men were all back defending, except Ian Daly. They looked dangerous on the counter attack and Mulcahy flew forward but the long leg of McGuinness caught the ball and took it off the former Bray Wanderers player. As the clock ticked nearer the time, Sligo pushed to get ahead but were almost caught when Stephen Bradley and Daly combined to push forward. Instead of the goal net being at the receiving end of the ball, it was Gavin Peers when the ball smacked off him.
Rovers came very close in the closing stages when Doyle met a perfect cross gifted to him by John Russell. However, Sligo’s leading goal-scorer slipped the ball just wide.
In the end, a draw was a fair result as Pats defensive play kept them in the game and meant Sligo were unable to really threaten them.
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke, Aaron Greene, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness, Alan Keane, Alan Kirby (John Russell, 77), Joseph Ndo, Richie Ryan, Raffaele Cretaro (John Dillon, 59), Eoin Doyle, Matthew Blinkhorn (Conor Powell, 58).
Subs not used : Ciaran Kelly, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Derek Foran, Danny Ventre.
Bookings: Jason McGuinness.
Sendings Off: None
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Gary Rogers, Derek Pender, Ian Bermingham, Conor Kenna (Brian Shortall, 69), Shane Guthrie, Dave Mulcahy, Shane McFaul, Anto Murphy (David McMillan 72), Stephen Bradley, Daryl Kavanagh (Ian Daly, 76), Danny North. < br /> Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Derek Doyle, Paul Crowley, Jake Carroll.
Bookings: Shane McFaul, Stephen Bradley, Danny North.
Sendings Off: None.
extratime.ie Man of the Match : Daryl Kavanagh.
Referee: Damien Hancock.