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St. Patrick's Athletic recorded their third home win and continued their unbeaten start to season with a straight forward 2-0 win over UCD in Inchicore on Friday night.
Two simple finishes for Christy Fagan and Greg Bolger in either half sealed a second Saints win against the Students in 11 days.
The first real chance fell to St Pats after an uninspiring start to the game. A corner from midfielder James Chambers found Captain Conor Kenna on the edge of the six yard box, and his glancing header was cleared off the line by UCD full back Ciaran Nangle.
From that point, St. Pats began to control the game; their quick passing and pressure proving different for UCD to cope with. The next opportunity wasn’t long in coming as a cross from John Russell was headed just over by former Student Greg Bolger.
UCD like to play from the back, much like their hosts, but there were nearly caught out after 24 minutes. Midfielder Daniel Ledwith was caught in possession by the forceful John Russell, but Russell himself was denied by a superb covering challenge from Hugh Douglas as the Galway man bore down on goal.
By the half hour mark, UCD were struggling to cope with St Pats passing and succumbed to the pressure when Christy Fagan slotted home his fourth league goal. Fagan was found in acres of space just eight yards from goal, and the former Manchester United trainee smashed a left footed shot low under onrushing keeper Mark McGinley.
In a throwback to Good Friday for St Pat’s fans, Chris Forrester played Greg Bolger in and Bolger tried a cheeky Forrester-esque chip, which, although executed superbly, narrowly missed the far post.
The Students did manage a breakaway attack just on half time, which was broken up after UCD winger Chris Lyons failed to release the ball early enough for his team mate Paul Corry.
Martin Russell knew he had to change things at half time, and his substitutions almost paid dividend’s when Conor Kenna slipped while in possession ten minutes after the break, striker Graham Rusk pounced to tee up half-time sub Robbie Benson who fluffed his shot into the ground and was easily cleared in the end, with skipper Kenna’s blushes spared.
The changes did pose a threat for UCD going forward, something they lacked in the first half. However, as they went forward in search of a goal, they were almost caught. Good play by Russell found Forrester on the right wing for St Pat’s, who teed up goalscorer Fagan who shot just over.
As expected with UCD pushing forward, Pat’s did get chances on the break. Despite this, poor decision making from the Saints front line led to numerous attacks fizzing out. When Forrester managed to hook the ball into Bolger’s path with 15 left on the clock, the midfielder’s tame volley was easily saved.
UCD pushed and pushed but couldn’t break down St Pat’s. Time and time again Pats created chances on the counter, and Christy Fagan should have double his tally on 78. Again Forrester teed Fagan up, but he fired straight at McGinley when one on one, before being subbed. His replacement Dean Kelly then missed an unbelievable chance after Bolger hit the post, almost passing the ball to Dave O’Connor who cleared off the line, leaving fans in disbelief.
It was just when Saints fans thought the second wasn’t coming, it did. On the 83rd minute, man of the match Chris Forrester bamboozled UCD skipper Dave O’Connor, skipped by him and rolled the ball across the six yard box for Greg Bolger to convert a chance that quite simply couldn’t be missed.
So St Pat’s motor along nicely in the league, recording their fourth win of the campaign. It’s the draws that will concern Liam Buckley however, as his side travel to face Sligo Rovers next Friday.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; John Russell, James Chambers, Greg Bolger; Chris Forrester (Darren Meenan, 87), Christy Fagan (Dean Kelly, 79), Jake Kelly (Sean O’Connor, 73).
Subs Not Used: Barry Murphy, Pat Flynn, Jake Carroll, Ian Daly.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Mark Langtry, Hugh Douglas, David O’Connor, Ciaran Nangle (James Kavanagh 45); Paul Corry, Daniel Ledwith, Paul O’Connor; Chris Lyons, Graham Rusk (Samir Belhout, 82), Cillian Morrison (Robert Benson 45).
Subs Not Used: Niall Corbett, Dean Clarke, Barry McCabe, Gary Burke.
Bookings: Chris Lyons (90).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Christopher Forrester. The Saints wide man was in great form again, setting up the second goal and numerous chances beforehand. Forrester just shaded John Russell, who was strong in the Saints midfield.