St Pat's need huge home display after 2-1 loss to Skonto Riga
ST PATRICK'S Athletic now need to summon up a big home display next week to stay in the Europa League after they went down 2-1 to Skonto Riga in Latvia this evening.
The Saints have a valuable away goal to show for their travels as Aaron Greene scored to give them the lead in the 21st minute but a counter-attacking goal in each half earned Skonto their win.
Playing in front of a crowd of under 1,000 in this 10,000-capacity stadium, Pats had to be patient early on and Skonto, as predicted by Saints boss Liam Buckley posed the biggest threat from set pieces.
But 21 minutes into the game Pats had that crucial away goal. A stunning pass from Christopher Forrester set up the chance for Greene and he rifled home his second European goal.
The strike provoked a response from Skonto who had a more physical approach (three players booked for fouls in the space of nine minutes) and on 38 minutes the hosts were level, Arturs Karasausks finishing past Brendan Clarke.
The Saints suffered a further blow when captain Ger O'Brien had to be replaced at half time due to injury and while the Pats defence managed to stand firm for the first 20 minutes of the second half, Skonto pounced on 65 minutes, Vladislavs Gutkovskis blasting past Clarke after the earlier scorer Karasausks paced through the away defence to set up the chance.
Jamie McGrath added some bite to the Pats attack as a sub for Chris Fagan but despite efforts from Killian Brennan and James Chambers, Skonto held on for their win.
SKONTO: Pavlovs, Timofejevs, Smirnovs, Renars, Jermolajevs, Kozlovs, Kovalovs, Mena, Visnakovs (Isajevs, 73), Gutkovskis (Lukaniuk, 83), Karasausks.
ST PATS: Clarke, O'Brien (Desmond, 46), Hoare (McGuinness, 67), Browne, Bermingham, Chambers, Brennan, Bolger, Forrester, Greene, Fagan (McGrath, 73).