Brendan Graham reports from Richmond Park
A sublime lob from Chris Forrester helped St. Pats to a vital three points and a narrow 2-1 victory against Sligo Rovers on Friday night.
Former St. Pats boss Liam Buckley received a very welcoming and warm reception from the Saints supporters on his first return to the club since departing towards the end of last season.
Half chances fell the way of the home team through Dave Webster and Mikey Drennan in the opening minutes but it was Sligo who created the first real chance of the game inside ten minutes through Ronan Coughlan.
Having soaked up a lot of pressure in the opening minutes of the game, Coughlan forced Brendan Clarke into a save with a shot from just outside the box that was completely against the run of play.
Coughlan’s attempt was a decent effort but it wasn’t enough to worry the experienced Brendan Clarke in the Pats goal too much as he enjoyed one of his quieter games in the Pats goal.
The constant pressure from the home side didn’t take long to pay off with Forrester putting the Saints in front after just 15 minutes with his first goal since his return to St. Pats at the start of the season.
An unlucky clearance from Sligo centre half John Mahon fell straight to the feet of the onrushing Forrester who advanced into the box before calmly lobbing Mitchel Beeney in the Sligo goal.
Minutes later and St. Pats almost doubled their lead through Drennan. He showed great strength to get himself on the end of a lofted ball over the top from Webster before attempting to toe poke the ball past Beeney.
The ‘keeper got down low to save well from Drennan and keep the game at 1-0 with 20 minutes on the clock.
Three minutes later and Drennan wasn’t to be denied this time doubling the lead for St. Pats from the penalty spot. Drennan himself was too quick on the turn for defender Mahon giving him no choice but to pull the striker to the ground and concede the penalty.
It was a frustrating opening half for Sligo limited to just that one Coughlan chance in front of goal and being pinned into their own half for the majority of the first 45 minutes.
They started the second half much more positively with Liam Buckley bringing on Kris Twardek for Niall Morahan at half time and they showed the confidence to edge forward into the St. Pats half as they looked for a way back into the game.
It wasn’t long until the home side regained control of proceedings again though gradually pushing Sligo back into their own half with Forrester going close again and Conor Clifford keeping Beeney on his toes with an effort too.
Sligo to their credit were significantly better in the second half in terms of limiting St. Pats to little in front of goal but they still struggled badly going forward.
With ten minutes remaining, Gary Shaw had a fantastic chance to make it 3-0 shaving the crossbar with his headed effort after Clifford did very well to find him with the cross.
With just two minutes remaining, Sligo found themselves a late lifeline as a result of some very slack defending from St. Pats.
David Cawley found himself completely unmarked at the back of the box and drilled his shot into the far corner of the net and past Clarke to leave the game at 2-1 with minutes remaining.
They continued to push forward for the final two minutes of the game but couldn’t find their equaliser with St. Pats taking a deserved three points.
Speaking after the game, Man of the Match Chris Forrester said he was delighted to get off the mark for the season.
“There’s a lot more to come from me I feel. That’s exactly what I’m thinking coming out of that game myself.
“I felt like up to now I haven’t been getting enough chances for myself or getting around the box enough. So I felt like I needed to start working at getting in around that area a bit more and I proved tonight that when I do get chances in those areas I have the ability to put the ball in the net.”
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ian Bermingham, Ciaran Kelly, David Webster, Simon Madden; Rhys McCabe, Lee Desmond, Conor Clifford, Chris Forrester (Cian Coleman 78); Gary Shaw (Jake Walker 89), Mikey Drennan.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Darragh Markey, Brandon Miele, James Doona, Dean Clarke.
Booked: Ciaran Kelly (12), Ian Bermingham (48), David Webster (87)
Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Lewis Banks, John Dunleavy, Dante Leverock, John Mahon; David Cawley, Daryl Fordyce (Liam Kerrigan 65), Jack Keany (Sam Warde 75), Niall Morahan (Kris Twardek 45); Ronan Coughlan, Romeo Parkes.
Subs not used: Regan Donelon, Brian Morley, Luke McNicholas, John Russell.
Booked: Ciaran Kelly (12), John Mahon (64), Romeo Parkes.
Referee: Robert Hennessy
We all know Chris Forrester loves scoring great goals at Richmond Park... he added to his collection tonight in a Man Of The Match performance in a 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers with this... #Saints2019 pic.twitter.com/oagM3HO2qf— St Patrick's Athletic FC (@stpatsfc) April 19, 2019