Rovers draw with Pat's
Sligo Rovers 1 St Patrick's Athletic 1
St. Patrick's Athletic came from behind to give their survival chances a boost on Saturday evening, with a 1-1 draw against Sligo Rovers, which is no ease to the Bit O'Red's relegation concerns.
The Bit O'Red took a well deserved lead in the first half through defender Kyle Callan McFadden, but Kurtis Byrne's goal of the season contender made it 1-1 in the second half.
Both sides came into this game in a precarious position at the wrong end of the table. Prior to kick-off, Gerard Lyttle's men were second bottom, five points off bottom spot which is occupied by Drogheda United.
The Saints were just out of the relegation zone, one point ahead of Galway United who recorded a crucial victory over Finn Harps on Friday evening.
The hosts had not won a game since defeating Shamrock Rovers on July 2nd, and had only won four games all season, those wins coming against Bohs, Bray, Limerick and the men from Tallaght.
The Dubliners have picked up six wins this season so far, and came into this game on the back of an excellent run of form, winning their previous three games.
Liam Buckley's side looked dangerous from the start, with Owen Garvan testing Micheal Schlingermann a number of times in the early stages of the game. Christy Fagan came agonisingly close to giving the visitors the lead. He sidefooted a Michael Ball cross towards goal, but he watched on in anger as his effort smacked the crossbar.
The hosts settled more into the game, and enjoyed more possession. A Daniel Kearns corner was headed wide by Benny Igiehon, before a Rhys McCabe free-kick was pushed away by Conor O'Malley in the Pats goal. And Rovers were well worth their lead on 33 minutes. A perfect corner from Regan Donelon was headed in by Kyle Callan McFadden to give his side a crucial lead.
The visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession following the re-start, although Schlingermann was rarely called into action. He made light work of a Christy Fagan effort just three minutes in, but was left for dead on 69 minutes when Conan Byrne's drive from 30 yards out of nothing smacked the crossbar.
The Mayo man in goal was finally beaten on 72 minutes. Former Dundalk man Kurtis Byrne got on the end of a corner, took a turn and unleashed a piledriver at goal, beating Schlingermann with what is certainly a goal of the season contender to level the score with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
The travelling support were up off their seats celebrating minutes later when Fagan had the ball in the back of the net, but referee Ben Connolly had blown his whistle for offside.
Igiehon should have snatched victory for the hosts when he was one-on-one with Conor O'Malley, but the former Halifax man failed to direct his toe-poke away from the Mayo man between the posts.
Sligo went on the attack in the dying seconds and new signing Vinny Faherty was handed a golden opportunity to snatch a last minute win, but he hit over from a mere six yards out. A point will do little for Sligo Rovers' survival hopes, with them continuing to sit second bottom, a point behind Galway. St. Patrick's Athletic, however, move up to 8th place, ahead of Finn Harps on goal difference. Up next for Gerard Lyttle's side is a cup meeting with Longford Town on Saturday evening at The City Calling Stadium.
Sligo Rovers: Micheal Schingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Mick Leahy, Kyle Callan McFadden, Regan Donelon, Daniel Kearns (Raff Cretaro, 36), Craig Roddan (Vinny Faherty, 77), John Russell, Rhys McCabe, Greg Moorhouse (Jamie McDonagh, 53), Benny Igiehon.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Conor O'Malley, Michael Barker, Lee Desmond, Jordi Balk, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne (Ian Turner, 83), Owen Garvan, Killian Brennan, Paul O'Conor (Kurtis Byrne, 67), Billy Dennehy, Christy Fagan.
Referee: Ben Connolly