herald

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Drennan returns to haunt Sligo

Sligo Rovers 0 St Pat's 1

Harry Kenny
Harry Kenny

Winning ugly is a good habit to develop and St Patrick's Athletic managed it for the second week on the trot in dramatic circumstances at the Showgrounds.

Key winter signing Mikey Drennan stepped up to plant home an injury-time header that broke the hearts of his former club - and old Saints boss Liam Buckley.

Harry Kenny's new look Saints had applied pressure for spells of the second half but this was far from a vintage performance in difficult weather conditions.

However, the bottom line is that they have six points from six with Drennan adding to his penalty strike against Cork in another scrap last week.

This was always going to be a strange occasion for Buckley, coming up against the club he had managed for the previous seven years.

There was a bit of an edge to it too, with his new brief complicated by the loss of Rhys McCabe and Drennan to the Saints.

Loopholes in their contract allowed the pair to move to Dublin when Buckley assumed they were signed up for 2019. And the natives were deeply unhappy about that.

Buckley's side were all prepared for the challenge presented by a Saints group that have changed formation since his departure.

Kenny stuck with the shape that got the job done against Cork City on the opening night; it's closer to a 3-6-1 than a 3-5-2 with Drennan a lone attacker.

The Saints are stacked with talented central midfield players with a diamond effectively operated behind Drennan with Conor Clifford advanced either side of Chris Forrester and Rhys McCabe with Jamie Lennon sitting.

But Buckley's team were well drilled with defensively minded midfielders Kyle Callan-McFadden and Jack Keaney restricting space and Daryl Fordyce covering ground further up the park.

The elements also helped to contain excitement levels with the wind causing havoc.

It was helping the hosts before the break and they were the better side without really creating a chance of note.

After the interval, it favoured the guests and they became more dangerous, especially from set-pieces, with McCabe judging the flight well with his corner coming back off the crossbar.

Sligo began to spend more time out of possession and fell a bit deeper, although Pat's did ride their luck when a Kris Twardek advance was halted at the edge of the box by Dave Webster.

But Buckley's side were pegged back in the dying stages and looked to set to hold on for a point until Drennan wriggled free at the death to showcase his predatory qualities.

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