The title charge from Pete Mahon’s St.Patrick’s Athletic is gathering real momentum just now and an impressive 1-0 victory over Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park on Friday night courtesy of David McAllister wonder goal will do nothing to dampen expectations around Inchicore.
The visitors made most of the early running, playing a very neat passing game, with each and every action typically being orchestrated by the hands-on guidance of manager Paul Cooke.
Though, in spite of Sligo’s impressive start, it was in fact they who required a last ditch intervention from Mauro Almeida who, at full stretch, managed to nick a Ryan Guy cross from the forehead of Paul Byrne as the striker stood ready to nod home on seven.
Returning anti-hero Joseph Ndo was given something of a free-role by Cooke and with the Saints’ defenders not knowing whether to pick him up or hold their position, Ndo strode unopposed into the penalty area at the shed end of the ground but his 15th minute shot was too high to trouble Gary Rogers.
Pat’s target man Vinny Faherty grew impressively into the game as the half wore on and his unselfish nature saw the ex- Galway man create chances for firstly, McAllister who was denied by a brilliant Richard Brush save on 20.
Then, with the half-time whistle approaching, Faherty played provider for both Byrne and Guy, though their efforts lacked the sufficient power or direction to unduly bother Brush who routinely gathered on both occasions and the teams went in at the break scoreless.
The game was far from a classic but as is so often the case on such occasions, a moment of magic can illuminate even the dimmest of encounters and knowing his side had to win to consolidate their position at the top of the division McAllister took centre stage on 56.
Fed by Byrne, the winger stepped infield and from all of 25 yards bent the sweetest of strikes over Brush with a left footed effort that sent the Richmond Park faithful into hysterics.
From that moment on, the Bit ‘o’ Red went in search of an equaliser but unfortunately for them penetrating the Saints’ rear guard is far from an easy thing to do these days and long-range efforts from Ndo on 72 and Richie Ryan eight minutes later were as close as they came in an open play.
Although Gavin Peers may well feel he should have done better from a Ryan corner, moments after McAllister had broken the deadlock, in what turned out to be the visitor’s best chance of the night.
St.Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers, Pender, Peers, Guthrie, Lynch; Guy (Cash 82), Byrne, Mulcahy, McAllister; Byrne (Williams 74), Faherty (Sinnott 89).
Subs not used: Coughlan, Connor.
Sligo Rovers: Brush, Ventre, Peers, Almeida (Whelan 26), Keane; Dillon (Dillon 68), Doninger, Ryan, McCabe (O’Grady 80); Ndo, Amond.
Subs not used: Feeney, Kelly.
Booked: Peers, Keane.
Referee: Alan Kelly
Man of the match: David McAllister
Eoin Manning has been a part of the extratime.ie reporting team since 2009 and covers the Dublin clubs. Eoin also writes for many of the countries national newspapers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org