Sunday 24 September 2017

Doyle keeps Saints in race

DEREK DOYLE's 90th-minute strike keeps St Patrick's Athletic in the title race after their five-goal thriller with Sporting Fingal at Morton Stadium.

Shaun Williams put Liam Buckley's side in the driving seat before Vinny Faherty and Dave McAllister gave the Saints control. It looked as if Conan Byrne had sealed a point for Fingal until Doyle's late winner.

After a scrappy opening, Fingal produced the game's first bit of quality in the 29th minute when Gary O'Neill played a one-two with Ronan Finn but failed to hit a vicious enough strike to beat 'keeper Gary Rogers.

Three minutes later Williams unleashed a powerful strike from 30 yards but Rogers got his body behind the ball and dealt comfortably with the shot.

It was a different story in the 38th minute when Williams broke the deadlock with a blistering strike from 12 yards out after Shane Guthrie slipped clearing a John Frost cross.

The second half started tentatively and the first incident after the break was a 51st-minute Williams header that found the net but was ruled out for a foul on the 'keeper.

Seven minutes later Ryan Guy teed up Gareth O'Connor for a shot but the midfielder blazed over from a tight angle.

St Pat's duly levelled on the hour when Faherty turned the ball home from a matter of yards after Ian Bermingham's cross from the left.

It got better for the visitors when Dave McAllister put them in front three minutes later after firing to the roof of the net after a rapid counter-attack.

Gary O'Neill fired in a long-range effort to test Rogers again in the 73rd minute but again the visiting 'keeper did well.

Byrne fired Fingal level in the 76th minute when he slotted past Rogers from a tight angle after a brilliant ball played in behind Bermingham by O'Neill.

Just when it looked as if the Saints would have to settle for a draw, McAllister delivered a stunning cross from the right and Doyle headed home at the back post for a last-gasp winner.

SPORTING FINGAL -- Quigley; G O'Brien, Maher, Browne, Frost, Finn, Williams, McFaul, C Byrne (Kirby 87), O'Neill (Crowe 81), Cahill (Zayed 72).

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Rogers; Pender, Kenna, Guthrie, Bermingham, McAllister, S Byrne, O'Connor (J O'Brien 92), Guy (Cash 87), Faherty, Doyle.

Ref -- R Winter (Wicklow).

Irish Independent

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