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Draws won't deliver the title – Fagan

CHRIS FAGAN insists that St Patrick's Athletic have to start turning their string of draws into wins if the Saints are to sustain a serious title challenge this season.

CHRIS FAGAN insists that St Patrick's Athletic have to start turning their string of draws into wins if the Saints are to sustain a serious title challenge this season.

Pat's have moved into second place in the table, three points behind leaders Sligo Rovers, as they extended their unbeaten run – the best in the country – to nine games.

But their latest result, a 0-0 draw at home to Shamrock Rovers, was a disappointing one for the Saints.

Three draws from the last three home games is not title-winning form and while Pat's could close in on top spot in the table should they manage maximum points from their next games, against strugglers Shelbourne and Bohemians, they can't afford many more evenings like last night when they dominated possession but failed to beat Rovers' keeper Barry Murphy.

Rovers even saw out the game with 10 men as left-back Danny Ledwith had to withdraw due to injury after Rovers had used all three subs.

"We have to turn some of the draws into wins. We should have beaten Derry and Bohs at home and now we've only taken a point at home to Rovers, we need to get wins under our belts now," said Fagan, who was restored to the Pat's starting XI for the first time in nine games last night in place of the injured Anto Flood.

"No disrespect to Bohs, but that draw here was a case of points dropped for us, especially if we are trying to challenge for the league.

"We have a couple of Dublin derbies ahead of us now, Shels next Friday and then Bohs, and the local derbies are always tough.

"We're happy with the performance but disappointed that we didn't get the winner. We dominated the game, maybe it got a bit scrappy in the last 10 minutes and we didn't take advantage of them going down to 10 men.

"We could have stuck another body up front to try and get a chance or two out of it.

"We started really well, from the first minute we didn't give them a chance to get into their stride, we really got on top of them.

"We should have taken advantage of that in the first half. If we'd scored then I'm sure we'd have gone on to win it, but we couldn't put them away," added Fagan.

"Games against Rovers are always going to be tight. I know we had the 5-1 last season but you won't get many scorelines like that in a Pat's-Rovers game, so we have to be happy with the night, move on and hopefully the next time we come across them we can stick some of our chances away."

Rovers, who looked so sharp in their 7-1 dismissal of Drogheda United on Saturday, rarely threatened Pat's last night, a strike from Danny Ledwith on 76 minutes and a header from the impressive Jason McGuinness about all they could manage in terms of attacks.



Pat's enjoyed periods of pressure but for all the build-up play of Christopher Forrester and Conan Byrne, they didn't make keeper Barry Murphy work hard enough.

Fagan and John Russell went close in the first half, after the break Russell was wide with a header which should have hit the target and late on Kenny Browne had a headed effort saved.

"We picked an unchanged team from the side that won the Setanta Cup and I think the lads did great," said Rovers boss Trevor Croly, returning to Richmond Park for the first time since his exit at the end of last season.

"Considering the circumstances we did great but, because we have drawn games previously, you're disappointed.

"You can only ask people to do what they can do at any given moment – we didn't do what we'd have liked to do a month or two ago but we can't change that, we can only deal with now," added Croly, who faces a potential defensive crisis for Friday's clash with Bohemians as full-backs Pat Sullivan and Danny Ledwith limped out of action last night, though Ken Oman could come into contention.