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Bradley draws comfort

LOI Premier Division: St Patrick's Athletic 0 Shamrock Rovers 0


Shamrock Rovers’ Graham Burke after the 0-0 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic

Shamrock Rovers’ Graham Burke after the 0-0 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic

Shamrock Rovers’ Graham Burke after the 0-0 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic

The first Dublin derby played since the league season resumed delivered a dose of frustration for Shamrock Rovers, their seven-game winning streak brought to a halt by a scoreless draw away to St Patrick's Athletic.

And even though the league leaders were unable to make a ridiculous amount of possession as well as a one-man advantage count against a well-drilled Saints side, Hoops boss Stephen Bradley says his side are very much on course to execute their mission statement for the season.

"I'm delighted, I'm absolutely delighted with how we played," Bradley said after his side came away without a win for the first time this year.

"We were worried about our first two games after the restart, in terms of getting our legs going and getting points on the board while we were doing that.

"We've done that and I think yesterday was a really complete performance, we were back to our levels in everything we did. If we score, that's the bonus and we win the game.

"It's a Dublin derby we've come here, we knew they'd up their game and we completely dominated from start to finish. If we keep doing that, we'll be fine. I'm delighted with the performance," he added.

Rovers keeper Alan Mannus didn't have a single save to make over 90 minutes but his opposite number Brendan Clarke was busy but not over-extended, well protected by his defence, even as Rovers pushed hard for a goal in the closing stages.

Rovers had an overwhelming amount of possession in the first half and yet were still unable to get close enough to Clarke's goal.

On nine minutes, Clarke blocked an effort from Graham Burke after the Ireland international was set up by Neil Farrugia, and Clarke had a very easy save to make on 15 minutes, Jack Byrne's cross met by the head of Burke but there was no power in the effort.

Byrne, being watched by Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, tried to turn the heat up in the closing minutes of the first half, but there was no end product.

Pat's suffered a blow early in the second half when wide man Griffin was sent off for a second bookable offence, the loss of a player adding to the stress on an already over-worked Saints side.

But the home side held their shape, restricting the league leaders to half-chances, Luke McNally a stand-out player in defence for the Saints.

And there was a late scare for Rovers in the fifth minute of injury time, Chris Forrester bearing down on goal before he was held back by a shirt tug from Liam Scales but they could not make the free-kick count, though there was more disciplinary woe for Pats in added time when manager Stephen O'Donnell was sent to the stand, shown a second yellow card.

O'Donnell said his offence was just "one of them misdemeanours" but was delighted with his side.

"You go home this evening and really feel that you've worked hard," he said.

"The self satisfaction from that is brilliant so I couldn't have asked for any more from them in that regard.

"The attitude and application was brilliant against a good team.

"They are a good side and technically good.

"They try to create overloads and they try to give you miss-matches and try to create you problems.

"So it's all the more impressive that we gave them nothing and defended very well and resolutely."