Three second half goals gave St Patrick’s Athletic the emphatic win that their performance deserved as they handed out a 4-0 thumping to Mick Cooke’s Drogheda United who also had Dave Rogers sent off.
It didn’t take long for St Pats to find a way through the Drogheda defence and it was a long throw from the right by Anto Murphy that led to the opening goal after just three minutes, Derek Doyle swivelling onto a half clearance and driving his low shot past Stephen Trimble.
Two minutes later and Pete Mahon’s men could have doubled their lead. Dave Mulcahy released Anto Murphy with a superb diagonal ball and the wingers' low cross was met by Daryl Kavanagh just six yards out at the near post. Trimble was alert, however, and side-footed the ball around his post.
Twin strikers Kavanagh and North showed both guile and industry as they strove to translate Pats greater possession into goals and, with Stephen Bradley and Mulcahy in command of central midfield, Drogheda were never allowed to relax.
Alan McNally, and then Dave Rogers, were booked for putting a crude end to dangerous looking St Patrick’s attacks. McNally took out Mulcahy as he drove with intent towards the Drogheda box while Rogers unceremoniously whipped the legs from under Kavanagh as he turned on the break at the halfway line.
Pats winger Anto Murphy was the next to threaten and he curled a twenty yard shot just over on 24 minutes. Two minutes after that a Bradley corner was met by the soaring figure of Evan McMillan and his glancing header slipped just past the wrong side of the back post.
Most of the visitor’s positive play flowed down the right flank where Mark O’Brien and Stephen Quigley burst forwards whenever the opportunity allowed. Striker Dinny Corcoran presented a willing and busy target but a looping header that went just over Gary Rogers bar was all he had to show for his opening 45 minutes of effort.
The second goal, when it came just six minutes after the re-start, owed as much to slack Drogheda defending as it did to the home side’s dominance. Admittedly it followed a period of pressure from Pats but a hopeful ball over the top was cleared only to Bradley wide on the right. He sent it straight back in, picking out the forehead of Daryl Kavanagh who nodded home from six yards.
North might have added a third on 54 minutes, firing narrowly over with a volley on the turn from just inside the Drogheda box, but his chance came again ten minutes later when a run into the box was ended by a sliding challenge from Dave Rogers. It looked like he had taken the ball but referee Padraig Sutton agreed with the home crowd that he did not and pointed to the spot.
North took the penalty himself, driving it low and hard but too close to Trimble who effected the block but could only watch as the ball ricocheted back to North who gleefully planted the rebound into the net.
A succession of substitutions followed as both managers adjusted to a game that had now been decided. David McMillan and Shane McFaul entered the fray for Pats and, in tandem, they created their side’s fourth goal of the evening. McFaul’s through ball sent McMillan clear on the left and his low cross curled behind the defensive line to Murphy who planted a first time shot back across Trimble and into the far corner of the net.
Pats might have added even more before the final whistle sounded, Kavanagh spinning a 20 yard effort onto the Drogheda crossbar and Murphy heading over from a Kavanagh cross. But Pete Mahon will surely by satisfied with both the performance and the result as his men get back to winning ways after five league games without a win.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Even McMillan, Brian Shortall, Ian Bermingham; Anto Murphy, Stephen Bradley (Ian Daly, 82), Dave Mulcahy, Derek Doyle (David McMillan, 66); Daryl Kavanagh, Danny North (Shane McFaul, 78).
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Shane Guthrie, Conor Kenna, Paul Crowley.
Bookings: A Murphy (73).
Drogheda United: Stephen Trimble; Stephen Quigley (Robbie Gaul, 82), Dave Rogers, Alan McNally, Philip Hand; Mark O’Brien, Lee Lynch, Brian Gannon, Gavin Brennan; Tiarnan Mulvenna (Jordan White, 57), Dinny Corcoran (Shane Dolan, 70).
Subs not used: Robert Duggan, Robbie Clarke, Sean Challeneer, Cillian Thompson.
Bookings: A McNally (15), D Rogers (17).
Sendt Off: D Rogers (64).
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
Attendance: 1,600 (estimate).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Daryl Kavanagh.