Fagan gets Pat's back on course
ST PAT'S ATHLETIC 2 BRAY WANDERERS 0
IT WAS business as usual at Richmond Park last night as St Patrick's Athletic eased their way back to winning ways at the expense of 10-man Bray Wanderers.
Chasing their 13th win of the season, the Premier Division leaders showed no signs of rustiness following the summer break as striker Christy Fagan bagged a first-half brace.
With Europa League action coming next week, Liam Buckley's team were determined to pick up three points.
Yet, it was still surprising that it took them only six minutes to break the deadlock. Chris Forrester set Ian Bermingham away on the left and he crossed for Fagan to convert well from close range.
Bray boss Pat Devlin would have been furious with how easily St Pat's carved his defence open, but it happened time and again throughout the game.
However, they had a couple of chances of their own, with Kevin O'Connor firing wide after a burst forward from midfield and top scorer Jason Byrne shooting straight at goalkeeper Brendan Clarke.
Failure to take those chances cost the Seagulls, who had David Webster sent off for two yellow cards, as the home team piled on the pressure.
Despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Darren Quigley, who twice denied John Russell, St Pat's got their second goal when Fagan converted from inside the penalty area after good work by Ger O'Brien.
Bray did try to fight back, but there was little they could do, especially as they gave the ball away far too cheaply throughout.
For St Pat's, there were a number of positives to take from this relatively easy win, with Forrester impressing with his cheeky flicks and ambitious shots.
But this was another team performance and Pat's strengthened their title bid as they moved onto 42 points with the victory.
For Bray, there is a lot of work to do in order to secure their Premier Division status. But they were simply outplayed by the league leaders – and potential champions.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC – Clarke; O'Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Bolger; Byrne, Russell (Gannon 81), McFaul (Maher 68), Forrester; Fagan (Flood 75).
BRAY WANDERERS – Quigley; Hyland (Mitchell 77), Webster, S O'Connor, Knight; K O'Connor (Earley 83), Zambra; Akinade, Mulroy, Waters; Byrne.
ReF – A Kelly (Cork)