herald

Monday 20 August 2018

fagan keeps saints alive

An early Christy Fagan goal reignited St Patrick's Athletic title charge as they saw off table-toppers Dundalk at Richmond Park last night.

The win leaves Pat's trailing the Lilywhites by eight points with six games remaining.

Pat's midfield trio of Keith Fahey, Killian Brennan and Greg Bolger were outstanding throughout with the latter in particular having one of his best outings of the season.

Pat's took the lead after two minutes. Conan Byrne beat Dane Massey on the right flank before whipping in a cross that Brian Gartland failed to clear. Fagan was as alert as ever inside the box and he took a touch before slotting home his 17th league goal of the season.

It was a half that was full of chances but Dundalk uncharacteristically lacked that clinical touch on front of goal.

Chris Shields flashed a header just wide from Daryl Horgan's cross while Richie Towell should have done better on the two occasions he found himself in space inside the six-yard box.

Daryl Horgan was the visitors' brightest spark and he was the one looked like unlocking the Pat's defence.

Spilled

Chris Forrester had an early long-range shot that Peter Cherrie comfortably dealt with, but midway through the half, the 'keeper very nearly spilled Forrester's effort into his own net.

Ruaidhri Higgins was lucky to stay on the pitch after he lunged in on Bolger having earlier picked up a yellow card.

Fagan almost doubled the Saints' lead but Cherrie did well to keep it out as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Byrne almost replicated Pat's excellent start to the game but Cherrie got down well to deny him with the second half barely a minute old.

Stephen Kenny introduced last week's two-goal hero David McMillian from the bench shortly before the hour mark but it was his strike partner who almost drew Dundalk level.

Towell fired a header back across goal and the ball fell to Pat Hoban but he could only volley over the bar from close range.

Byrne almost curled home a cracking left-footed effort and Mark Quigley really should have guaranteed all three points for Pat's shortly after.

Having only just come on as a substitute, Forrester's cross fell perfectly to Quigley but he couldn't divert the ball beyond Cherrie.

The visitors had a late chance to snatch a draw but Massey failed to keep his header down as the ball sailed harmlessly over the bar - much to the frustrations of the travelling support.

Dundalk remain firmly in the driving seat but Pat's aren't going to give up their title without a late fight.

St Patrick's Athletic: Clarke, O'Brien (c), Browne, Hoare, Bermingham (Greene 87); Bolger, Fahey, Brennan (McCormack 78); Forrester, Fagan (Quigley 72), Byrne.

Dundalk: Cherrie; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields, Moutney (McDermott 56), Higgins (McMillan 56), Horgan, Towell; Hogan (K Byrne 83).

Ref: P McLaughlin (Donegal).

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