St. Patrick's Athletic 1 - 0 IBVThu, Jul 05 2012
St. Patrick’s Athletic ran out 1-0 winners against Icelandic opposition IBV for the second season running at Richmond Park, however the IBV did provide a stern test throughout.
Christy Fagan was the match winner, but hobbled off in the second half creating a doubt for Liam Buckley before St. Pat’s trip to Tallaght on Sunday.
St. Pat’s had much of the ball early on, but IBV had done their homework, cutting out an early St Pat’s corner routine, and pressing their opponents passing style of play at every chance. The game lacked a European feel, due to only the main stand being open, strict UEFA regulations the cause.
The Dublin side were almost undone with just 12 minutes on the clock however, as IBV full back Matt Garner tossed a long ball over the heads of Kenny Browne and Conor Kenna. As Brendan Clarke rushed from goal prematurely, striker Christian Olsen flicked the ball up and over Clarke, tantalisingly sailing towards goal, but eventually hitting the top of the bar and floating over.
IBV had another chance when Tryggvi Gudmundsson had a shot parried for a corner, after good build up play by the Icelandics. Just after the IBV chance, Sean O’Connor hit a drive for St Pats from 20-yards, but Abel Dihara in goal saved comfortably.
A more direct route to goal was sought but the usually patient St Pat’s on 30 minutes, when Darren Meenan rolled a 30-yard free kick to full back Ger O’Brien who had a forceful effort blocked by a brave IBV barricade.
St Pat’s, by this stage, were struggling to gain possession. IBV had all the ball and the Saints were stuck in defensive mode, without really being tested. This is something that Liam Buckley’s side have not been much used to this season.
The Saints did then come across two good chances. Firstly, Sean O’Connor’s swinging free kick dangled in the air before dropping under the bar for Abel Dihara to knock behind. The resulting corner was crossed to the back post, dropping onto Kenny Browne’s head, but the centre-half got under the ball and headed well over.
The score line was opened in the 38th minute. Christy Fagan tapping home from six-yards to give the Saints the lead, just as they were coming back into the game. The move began when James Chambers won a crunching challenge against Tony Mawejje, the ball broke to John Russell who teed up winger Darren Meenan. Meenan’s centre flashed across the six-yard box where Fagan was ideally placed.
Shortly before half-time, St Pats had a penalty claim turned down, before full back George Baldock hacked the ball away. Then, worryingly for St Pats, Christy Fagan seemed to over stretch, leaving him limping into the dressing room at half time and limping back out. Those fears were confirmed when Dean Kelly replaced him shortly into the second half.
The first real piece of action in the second half saw an IBV player lucky to escape a red card. The ball broke from George Baldock’s control, and he lunged into James Chambers with his two feet up. Despite awarding a free kick, Moldovan referee Igor Satchi’s choice of punishment was a yellow card.
St Pat’s second-half play left little to the imagination, as they continued to try and dictate every element of the game. IBV struggled throughout the second half to keep up their first half pressurising.
Chance creation was something that challenged the Saints in the second however, as their build up play from the back allowed IBV to get men back, and organised defending was one of their strengths, conceding the joint second least amount of goals in their league so far this season.
The question for most approaching the hour was could St Pat’s break down this IBV side and get a second goal.
IBV muscled forward on 71 minutes, but Tony Mawejje’s cross was too high for Tryggvi Gudmundsson, the striker only got the top of his head to the ball, sending it high and wide.
A corner provided the Saints with their next chance on goal after 75 minutes. John Russell worked hard to earn it and Sean O’Connor’s ball had to be tipped wide by Abel Dihara as it hung invitingly in front of Kenny Browne at the far post.
IBV were next to threaten in what was becoming an excessively dull second half, Gudmundsson’s corner was played short to Jeffs, and his cross wriggled its way to George Baldock on the penalty spot, but he smashed far wide.
St Pat’s went up the far end and almost doubled their lead. Firstly substitute Anto Flood had a ball taken off his toe by Matt Garner, and that clearance was fired back in low by Dean Kelly, but Dihara was well behind the near post strike.
That was to be the last action of this Europa League first round first leg. St Pats seemed comfortable enough, but may face far more pressure against IBV in the small island of Vestmannaeyjar.
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne, Conor Kenna, Ian Bermingham; Greg Bolger, James Chambers, John Russell; Darren Meenan, Christy Fagan (Dean Kelly, 48), Sean O’Connor (Anto Flood, 86).
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Aidan Price, Jake Carroll, Pat Flynn, Jake Kelly.
IBV: Abel Dihara; Matt Garner, Brynjar Gudjonsson, Rasmus Christiansen, George Baldock; Porarin Ingi Valdimarsson, Ian David Jeffs (Vidir Thorvardarson, 90), Tony Mawejje (Arnor Olafsson), Gudmundur Thorarinsson; Christian Olsen (Aaron Spear, 43), Tryggvi Gudmundsson.
Subs not used: Gudjon Orri Sigurjonsson, Ragnar Leosson, Gunnar Gudmundsson, Yngvi Borgthorsson.
Bookings: Baldock (52), Spear (72).
Referee: Igor Satchi (Moldova).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ian Bermingham.
Damien Byrne joined the Extratime.ie team for the 2012 season. He is a Dublin based freelance reporter who is partial to a Friday in Richmond Park, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @damienbyrne92