fagan double fires up saints
Champions claim derby spoils against Bohs
St Patrick's Athletic registered their third league win on the trot as they overcame Dublin rivals Bohemians by 3-1 in their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division tie at Richmond Park last night.
The Saints have struggled for consistency so far this year, as witnessed by the hammering they took in last Monday's Setanta Cup semi-final against Sligo Rovers, but there are signs that Liam Buckley is starting to mould his new panel into a more cohesive side.
The Saints had an ambitious appeal for a penalty dismissed by referee Graham Kelly inside the opening minute, while at the opposite end, Craig Walsh looked in vain to Kelly after a challenge inside the area by James Chambers.
A snap shot from Christopher Forrester aside, there was very little goalmouth action to report, with the Saints enjoying a degree of control without creating any opportunities of note.
With their confidence increased, it was of scant surprise that the visitors took the lead midway through the half with a classic counter-attacking goal by Jason Byrne.
Walsh found space to run at a retreating St Pat's defence and with Brendan Clarke off his line, Byrne chipped an audacious attempt over the goalkeeper from 20 yards for his 210th league goal of an illustrious career.
Crucially, the hosts hit back within four minutes, with Bohemians architects of their own downfall as Aidan Price failed to deal adequately with Conan Byrne's low cross and Christy Fagan was on hand to clinically fire across Lee Murphy from eight yards.
After Murphy had denied Conan Byrne at his near-post in the 36th minute, the Bohemians goalkeeper made an even better save two minutes later, diving to his right to deflect Fagan's header from Keith Fahey's free-kick away to safety.
The second half resumed with Ian Bermingham and Price going close at either end, but the momentum that the hosts had generated before the break was marked absent as they struggled to regain their authority.
The lively Fagan was once again denied by Murphy in the 57th minute, with the keeper getting the deftest of touches to divert his 22-yard shot onto the post.
After Forrester had inexplicably fired over from another inviting Conan Byrne cross in the 63rd minute, the Saints eventually took the lead as Fagan pounced from eight yards after Byrne's low delivery caused havoc in the Bohemians rearguard.
After Jason Byrne had spurned a glorious opportunity of restoring parity in the 72nd minute, heading wide from Darragh Raynor's cross, Forrester sealed the points with a trademark run and finish five minutes later to seal the Saints' second successive derby victory in seven days.