A convincing 2-0 win for St Patrick's Athletic over Drogheda United, with goals in either half from Conan and Kurtis Byrne, saw them jump three places to move out of the relegation zone at Richmond Park on Friday night.
The programme notes bore a message of unity from The Saints' president, Phil Mooney , who wrote the “league table doesn't lie” but that “a few good results could see a dramatic change in fortunes.”
And that came immediately as the Saint's won just their second game at home this season and moved above Finn Harps, Galway United and Bohemians.
Both sides went into the game on the back of two consecutive league draws and it was not a happy return to Richmond Park for two-time former Pat's manager, Pete Mahon.
The first half was dominated by Pat's, however they only went into the break with a 1-0 lead, leaving everyone in the stadium to wonder how on earth it had happened.
The answer was crystal clear – Christy Fagan. Although perhaps it's a bit unfair to lay all the blame at the foot of Fagan as Kurtis Byrne, Darragh Markey, Conan Byrne and Gavin Peers were also guilty of missing good chances.
However, it was an unnerving sight in the first half to see a once clinical striker look completely bereft of confidence. Clear-cut chance after clear-cut chance passed Fagan by, four in total, without the striker seeing the net bulge.
The opening goal of the game came after seven minutes.
Conan Byrne stood over a free kick on the far right and watched on with great surprise, along with the rest in the ground, as Ian Bermingham made a late run into the box and remained completely unmarked before superbly guiding a left-footed volley into the corner of the goal.
It was embarrassing for the Drogheda United team who prided themselves on their solidity last season when they only conceded 29 goals, albeit in a lower division.
The game had opened with Marc Griffin looking bright up top for Drogheda in the opening five minutes, the highlight of which was nice skill to beat Gavin Peers as he raced into the Pat's box, but covering defenders ensured it came to nothing.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got for Drogheda until the 30th minute when Gareth McCaffrey floated a good cross into the centre of the Pat's box.
Jake Hyland challenged for the header with Rory Feely and the ball seemed to come off a mixture of the two of them but, luckily for The Saints, Conor O'Malley found himself perfectly positioned to palm the ball down and collect.
One theme of the first half was the quality of Pat's crossing, most of which were low, driven deliveries.
The first came when Kurtis Byrne controlled an over-hit cross at the back post from Darragh Markey and he in turn provided Christy Fagan with a must-score opportunity. Well, not must score, because he hit it wide.
The second goal did eventually come, three minutes into the second half. Darragh Markey, who was brilliant all night, put in a superb through ball to Kurtis Byrne who opened up his body and finished perfectly into the far corner. Effectively ending the game in the process.
The rain did not relent all throughout the second half which may have affected what happened on the pitch as the game got a lot scrappier, with few chances.
The early second goal for the Saints resulted in them sitting back and allowing Drogheda to come forward a bit more, and they created a couple of half chances.
A long-range effort from Luke Gallagher midway through the second half skidded along the surface and flashed by Pats' right hand post, and a last minute chance for Mark Doyle was saved rather easily from O'Malley.
Drogheda will have been outraged after what looked like a case for a penalty was waved away by referee Anthony Buttimer. Garreth McCaffrey ran onto a pass and it bounced free for him as O'Malley rushed out of his goal and dived on the ground, missing the ball and taking McCaffrey off his feet.
It was clear how McCaffrey felt with the non-decision from the referee as he rose from the ground with anger, sprinted right up to Buttimer and shouted angrily. He did then, however, earn himself a yellow card.
St Patrick's Athletic: Conor O'Malley; Michael Barker, Rory Feely, Gavin Peers, Ian Bermingham; Lee Desmond, Graham Kelly (Patrick Cregg 80), Darragh Markey, Conan Byrne (Alex O'Hanlon 40) Kurtis Byrne; Christy Fagan (Billy Dennehy 87).
Subs not used: Barry Murphy,, Sam Verdon, J.J. Lunney,, Josh O'Hanlon.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Shane Elworthy, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran McGuigan, Conor Kane; Killian Brennan (Sean Brennan 69), Richie Purdy, Jake Hyland, (Gareth McCaffrey Mark Doyle 72) Thomas Bryne (Stephen Dunne 89); Marc Griffin.
Subs not used: Kevin Farragher, Sean Thornton,, Ryan Coulter, Ryan McEvoy.
Booked: Gareth McCaffrey (58).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Lee Desmond (St Patrick's Athletic).