St. Patrick’s Athletic ran out comprehensive 4-1 winners against Sligo Rovers on Tuesday night in the Setanta Cup semi final first leg in Richmond Park. Goals from Paul Byrne, David McAllister, Gareth Coughlan and a Ryan Guy wonder goal sealed the win for St. Pat's.
The result all-but seals St. Pat's passage to the final barring a disaster in the away leg. Keith Fahey received loud applause before the game as the ex-St Pat's and now Birmingham City midfielder was welcomed back to the ground.
Sligo Rovers began on the attack, forcing three consecutive corners but failing to test Dan Connor in the St. Pat's goal.
St. Pat's opened the scoring after just nine minutes. Alex Williams laid the ball off to Ryan Guy on the right wing. He was given too much time to cross and he found Paul Byrne who headed into the bottom right corner.
Dean Marshall and Derek Pender collided awkwardly after 17 minutes, but both players were able to continue.
Sligo were almost level on 18 minutes. Gary McCabe made progress down the right wing before cutting the ball back to Doyle, but he fired over from ten yards. Just after the half hour mark, Sligo went closer to grabbing a levelling goal. A Mark Doninger right-wing cross was met by Richie Ryan, who shot first time low but wide of Connor’s post.
St. Pat's doubled their lead after 37 minutes. A perfectly weighted low pass from Pender found David McAllister and he shot first time on the run passed Ciaran Kelly from just inside the penalty box.
Sligo troubled St. Pat's again on 40 minutes, but yet again failed to test Connor. Dean Marshall’s ball found McCabe but again the effort went over the bar.
The visitors got back into the game on the stroke of half time, as McCabe's deflected cross was headed into the net by Doninger at the back post.
St. Pat's shot out of the blocks after half time and five minutes in they regained their two-goal lead. A quick Damian Lynch free kick sent Gareth Coughlan racing towards goal from the left and he finished superbly low into the bottom corner past the advancing Kelly.
Sligo could have grabbed an instant reply. McCabe laid the ball off to Doninger but he shot wastefully wide. Two minutes later, Ryan’s ball found Marshall but Connor pulled off a good save to his left.
Padraig Amond had a chance to score on 59 minutes when McCabe's free kick to the back post was headed goalward by the Carlow native, but the ball was adjudged to have gone wide.
Coughlan has a great chance to increase Pat's lead further after 71 minutes. Guy was fouled inside the Sligo half but still managed to get the ball away to Coughlan and referee Declan Hanney allowed the advantage and Coughlan ran toward goal but his powerful strike went just over Kelly's crossbar.
St. Pat's had another chance after 75 minutes. Paul Byrne flicked on a long Connor clearance to find Williams, but he shot straight at Kelly. Byrne's persistence created another chance for Pat's five minutes later. The ball found its way to Coughlan, who centred to Ryan Guy, but the American mishit his shot.
Minutes later and Guy had his goal, and what a goal it turned out to be. Guy collected the ball in the middle of the Sligo half, turned and powered an unstoppable 35 yard strike into the top left corner of Kelly's goal, a strike the watching Keith Fahey would have been proud of.
The last few minutes passed away eventless but the St. Pat's faithful gave their side a standing ovation as they left the field.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Connor; Pender, Lynch, Kenna, Guthrie; S Byrne, McAllister, Guy (Sinnott 88’), Coughlan; Williams (Mulcahy 78’), P Byrne (Doyle 85’).
Substitutes not used: Haverty, Harney, Rogers.
Sligo Rovers: Kelly; Whelan, Davoren, Peers, Foran; Ryan, Marshall (Dillon 64’), Amond, Doyle (Blinkhorn 64’), McCabe, Doninger.
Substitutes not used: Brush, Ventre, Feeney, McCartney, Almeida.
Referee: Declan Hanney
Extratime Man of the Match: Stuart Byrne
Brendan White is Extratime News Editor and is responsible for the news section of Extratime.ie. Brendan also covers matches in Dublin and Waterford. You can contact Brendan at email@example.com or on twitter @whitebrendan.
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