Date: 8 p.m. Feb. 24, 2014
Venue: Ferney Park
Ref: Mark Courtney
Scored: 21'- Chris Forrester 21'
Airtricity League champions St Patrick’s Athletic earned their first win in the Setanta Sports Cup in two years as a first half Chris Forrester strike was enough to see off Ballinamallard United on a 1-0 scoreline.
The only goal of the game came after some neat play by Republic of Ireland international Keith Fahey who’s dummy on the right bought himself a few yards space, before he pulled the ball across the six yard box for U21 international Forrester to tap in.
The Saints dominated the opening half of the game as Ballinamallard struggled to cope with the Dubliners’ passing and movement. It was Forrester again who threatened to extend the Saints’ lead further as he climbed highest to head Conan Byrne’s corner wide.
2013 PFAI Player of the Year Killian Brennan went close to extending the Saints’ lead at the start of the second half as his free from the right was punched away by Mallards’ keeper Stefan McCusker.
However from that moment on, the home side dominated proceedings as they seemed to cope with the damp conditions and heavy Ferney Park pitch much better than their opponents from the Airtricity League.
On 70 minutes a free from substitute Cathal Beacom found the head of David Kee but the midfielder’s diving header was tipped well wide by Saints’ keeper Rene Gilmartin.
The Mallards two best chances however came in the final stages of the game. The first came as Saints’ defender Kenny Browne struggled to clear the ball in the muddy conditions. However after pouncing on the loose ball, Mallards’ striker Andy Crawford saw his shot saved by the outstretched foot of Gilmartin.
With two minutes left on the clock, Beacom got another chance to show his set-piece skills, however 25 yards from goal, his shot failed to curl sufficiently around the Dubliners’ wall and the shot drifted wide of the post.
Christy Fagan had the final chance of the game as he pounced on a fumble by McCusker, but his shot was deflected wide by Steve Feeney. However a relieved St Pat’s side did enough for their one goal lead and now head into the second leg of this Setanta Sports Cup tie with a slim advantage.
Ballinamallard Utd: Stefan McCusker; Chris Crilly, Mark Stafford (c), Steve Feeney, Jason McCartney; Stuart Hutchinson (Cathal Beacom 66), David Kee, Dwayne McManus (John Currie 81), Ryan Campbell, Liam Martin; Richard Lecky (Andy Crawford 70).
Subs Not Used: Conor McMenamin, Craig Hill, Jonathan Courtney.
St Patrick’s Ath: Rene Gilmartin; Ger O'Brien (c), Kenny Browne, Ken Oman, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, Keith Fahey (Lee Lynch 81), Killian Brennan (James Chambers 86), Greg Bolger, Chris Forrester (Daryl Kavanagh 81); Christy Fagan.
Subs Not Used: Brendan Clarke, Sean Hoare, Conor McCormack, Derek Foran.
Referee: Mark Courtney
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Rene Gilmartin (St Pats Ath)