St. Patrick's Athletic and Bohemians played out an intriguingly entertaining game on Tuesday night as a Christy Fagan's double and a Killian Brennan free kick sealed a win for Liam Buckley's side that sees them overtake opponents Bohs to fourth place in the table.
The game began in a good, open tempoed manner of play with neither side's lack of scoring opportunities diminishing from the good attacking football being implemented by both sets of managers.
The game's first opportunity came following a Lorcan Fitzgerald foul on James Chambers that won the home side a free kick from the edge of the penalty area from 20 yards out. Killian Brennan stood over the free as his effort curled high and around the Bohemians wall to sweep just passed Dean Delany's far post to go wide.
Both sets of teams battled for possession in midfield with Keith Buckley and Kealan Dillon facing up against James Chambers and Greg Bolger with the latter two putting in horse like stamina to ensure Bohs' forwards could not rest on their possession.
Bohs' Ismahil Akinade made his own presence noted in his physical battles against the St. Pats centre halves with the forward drawing Kenny Browne and Sean Hoare out to expose the space availed of behind.
But the centre backs would not be exposed as Browne returned from suspension to put in a reassuring performance on the night.
Hoare was called into action after twenty minutes and was lucky not to give away a penalty as a quick Lorcan Fitzgerald free kick found the untracked run of Kealan Dillon who was taken down inside the area by Hoare for referee Padraigh Sutton to wave away appeals for a spot kick.
The game finally got its break on 22 minutes however as former Bohs striker and PFAI Player of the Season Christy Fagan took control Aaron Greene's cross to kick the ball over his shoulder with back to goal for the ball to nestle into the corner of Dean Delany's net for the forwards first league goal of the season.
The St. Pats elation was cut short ten minutes later however as a corner kick delivered by former Saints defender Lorcan Fitzgerald was headed home ferociously by centre back Derek Prendergast to level the scores at 1-1 on 33 minutes, sending the visiting Gypsies into a sea of black and red celebration.
Bohs began the second half sticking to their initial game plan to break their opponents down on the counter attack through midfield runners. One such counter attack should have yielded a better finish as Kealan Dillon went on the break after Roberto Lopes out-muscled Christy Fagan to the ball. Dillon exchanged a one two with Keith Buckley before his teed up shot was blasted curling wide of the goal.
Keith Long's team would regret their missed chance as the second of two successive St. Pats corners eventual put the Saints back in the lead. A quick Killian Brennan corner was thunder blasted gold-bound by the unmarked Ian Bermingham before being deflected ever so carefully away from Dean Delany and into the top left corner of the goal by Christy Fagan for 2-1.
That being the forward's second of the night in a performance fully demonstrating the forward's return to full fitness, Bohs went searching for the equalizer echoing their managers words before the game that they would fear no opposition.
A Lorcan Fitzgerald free-kick following a James Chambers foul on Ismahil Akinade curled over the bar on 58 minutes before Aaron Greene was let loose by another Killian Brennan through ball. Greene rode the challenge of his marker before cutting in one to his left foot for his shot to be saved onto the post brilliantly by Bohemians goalkeeper Dean Delany to keep the score at 2-1.
But St. Pats would seal the win on 69 minutes as a foul on Chris Forrester would see Killian Brennan curl the resulting free kick from the edge of the Bohs penalty area past the hapless Delany in a curling chipped effort that eluded even the attempts of a diving save of the Bohs goalkeeper to put St. Pats 3-1 ahead.
Fagan failed to seal his hat-trick moments later as James Chambers' late run was not caught by the Bohs offside trap, the midfielder cutting inside to provide a low cross to meet the run of Fagan inside the box but the forward fluffed the opportunity, getting the ball caught up in his feet.
Late chances featuring a dribbling run from Jamie McGrath and late crossing opportunities from a competitive Bohemians saw the game come to a 3-1 result.
St. Pats would see the game out comfortably in total control with Fagan's late chance not likely to affect the overall result as Fagan went off to the applause of the home support and the boos and jeers of his former club on a night when his double and a Killian Brennan free kick for good measure pushed Liam Buckley's side into fourth spot.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke: Ger O'Brien (Lee Desmond, 61), Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Greg Bolger, James Chambers, Killian Brennan, (Conor McCormack 78), Chris Forrester, Aaron Greene, Christy Fagan (Jamie McGrath 75)
Subs not used: Conor O'Malley (gk), Jason McGuinness, Morgan Langley, Ciaran Kilduff
Bookings: Bermingham (63)
Sent off: None
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Lorcan Fitzgerald, Roberto Lopes, Derek Prendergasr, Dylan Hayes (Dean Kelly 69), Karl Moore (Jason Byrne75), Keith Buckley, Robbie Creevy (James O'Brien 29), Kealan Dillon, Ismahil Akinade, Adam Evans
Subs not used: Lee Steacy (gk), Jason Caffrey, Jake Hyland, Adam Wixted
Bookings: Fitzgerald (10), Hayes (41), Karl Moore (52), O'Brien (76)
Sent off: None
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Attendance: 2,000 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: James Chambers (St. Patrick's Athletic)