Sport Soccer

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Guy puts Saints in full control

St Patrick's Athletic 4
Sligo Rovers 1

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC have one foot in the Setanta Sports Cup final after this first-leg demolition of a Sligo Rovers side who will require massive improvement in Saturday's return tie.

Any fears of a hangover from the Saints' first defeat of the season last Friday were dispelled soon after the game had kicked off, Ryan Guy's in-swinging cross from the right found Paul Byrne who headed home.

Eoin Doyle missed an opportunity to instantly reply for Rovers, ballooning an effort from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Gary McCabe.

And the visitors' task got all the more difficult before the break as Dave McAllister doubled the lead, Derek Pender threading a well-timed ball through to the onrushing midfielder who beat Ciaran Kelly from six yards.

Paul Cook's half-time tongue lashing would have been curbed slightly when Mark Doninger headed home just before the whistle, after Dan Connor's failure to hold McCabe's looping, deflected cross allowed the midfielder to knock it in at the back post.

Rovers were two behind again within five minutes of the restart. Damian Lynch caught the defence napping with a quick free and Gareth Coughlan stole into the box and gave Kelly no chance.

The Bit O' Red had chances to hit back with McCabe setting Doninger up for a shot wide and Doyle's right-footed effort saved at Connor's near post.

A frustrated Cook introduced Matthew Blinkhorn and John Dillon in an attempt to freshen things up, but the hard-working hosts looked lively on the break and Stuart Byrne and Coughlan had chances for a fourth.

It eventually came when Dillon gave the ball away on the edge of the Saints' box, St Pat's moved the ball quickly to Guy and allowed plenty of time to curl a delicious shot into the top corner.

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Connor; Pender, Kenna, Guthrie, Lynch; Guy (Sinnott 88), S Byrne, McAllister, Coughlan; P Byrne (Doyle 85, Williams (Mulcahy 78).

SLIGO ROVERS -- Kelly; Whelan, Peers, Foran (Almeida 85), Davoren; McCabe, Ryan, Doninger, Marshall (Dillon 64); Amond, Doyle (Blinkhorn 64).

REF -- D Hanney (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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