Friday 9 December 2016

St Pat's and Sligo share the spoils

St Patrick's Athletic 1 1 Sligo Rovers

Published 08/04/2016 | 21:51

8 April 2016; John Russell, Sligo Rovers, in action against Graham Kelly, left, and Billy Dennehy, St Patrick's Athletic. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, St Patrick's Athletic v Sligo Rovers. Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
8 April 2016; John Russell, Sligo Rovers, in action against Graham Kelly, left, and Billy Dennehy, St Patrick's Athletic. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, St Patrick's Athletic v Sligo Rovers. Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

WHEN Sligo Rovers came away from Inchicore in October with a win that preserved their Premier Division status, the intention was to draw a line under a disastrous campaign and build towards the future.

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They arrived back at Richmond Park last night with a different manager and almost a brand new team but results under Dave Robertson has raised fears that they could be involved in another stressful battle with the drop this year.

The performance here suggested otherwise but they are still waiting for a first competitive win under the Englishman

The Bit'O'Red were full value for their half-time lead with St Patrick's Athletic having plenty of the ball without doing very much with it. They always looked susceptible to a Sligo counter attack with the union between striker Jaanai Gordon and the creative midfielder Kieran Sadlier posing problems for the hosts.

Gordon moved to West Ham for big money as a teenager - a figure of £3.5m was reported in the English media - and he has moved to Ireland on loan to be reunited with Robertson who had coached him in the youth team set-up at Peterborough.

He's yet to get off the mark in his temporary abode and squandered two chances to do so before the break with Brendan Clarke pushing away his right footer after Saints attacker Christy Fagan made a mess of a backpass and then getting down to push away the 20-year-old's close range header following good work from Jimmy Keohane and Sadlier.

Robertson's side have impressed some observers, particularly in their scoreless draw with Cork City, and a return of just two goals from their opening six matches explained their pre-match position in the table. But  they did add to that tally in the 41st minute with Sadlier dusting himself down after being fouled to drill a free goalwards with Boylan on hand to sweep home a weak parry from Clarke.

The Saints netminder could have done better with that effort but he was still in credit by the hour mark with loose defending keeping him busy and a double stop from Keohane prevented the away side from wrapping the game up after the restart.

And his efforts were duly rewarded at the other end as a lengthy spell of Saints passing culminated with an Ian Bermingham cross that was dispatched by Fagan; he rose above Boylan to find enough power to beat a frustrated Micheal Schlingermann.

That allowed the locals to find their voice and a brief spell of pressure followed. However, Robertson utilised his subs and Sligo continued to look dangerous on every foray into the final third.

ST PAT’S ATH  – Clarke, O'Brien (Barker 50), D Dennehy, McEleney, Bermingham; Treacy (Verdon 86); Timlin, Kelly (Byrne 75), Cawley, B Dennehy; Fagan

SLIGO ROVERS  – Schlingermann, Adebayo-Rowling, Leahy, Boylan, Donelon; Roddan, Russell (Richards 70); Keohane, Sadlier (Place 88), Martin; Gordon (Cretaro 70)

Ref – N Doyle (Dublin)

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