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Prolific North puts Pats top of the pile

STRIKER Danny North was the hero yet again for St Patrick's Athletic as they marched to the top of the Aitricity League Premier Division with a 1-0 win over Bray in Inchicore.

The in-form Saints notched up their 11th win in a 14-game unbeaten league run and they will relish next Sunday's clash with Shamrock Rovers -- the team they replaced at the summit -- in Tallaght.

This wasn't their best display of that sequence, but in shocking conditions against a dogged Bray side they took their chance and ran.

Shorn of their captain, Gary Dempsey, the Seagulls struggled to exert their usual control in a match that hinged on the controversial 55th-minute intervention of linesman Marc Douglas, who adjudged Adam Mitchell to have deliberately prevented a goal with his hand.


He saw red -- leaving the field protesting that he had blocked Brian Shortall's effort with his chest -- and North stepped up to rattle the net with his 11th goal of the season.

Mahon's men were well on top with the extra man, but they couldn't find a way past Matt Gregg again despite chances for Anto Murphy, Derek Doyle and Paul Crowley, who fired just wide from Stephen Bradley's corner.

A quick free-kick from Shane McFaul then released the winger up the right, his low pass freed David McMillan, but his effort was straight at Gregg.

Pat Devlin made three changes with six minutes left and went in search of a point. Danny O'Connor had a curled effort whistle just wide, before Gary Rogers foiled Conor Murphy and a Derek Pender lunge denied O'Connor an open goal.

The resultant corner saw a dramatic goal-line scramble, before Devlin joined Mitchell in the stands for something he said to the referee after Daryl Kavanagh went close on the counter-attack.