Friday 23 February 2018

Cherrie's heroics draw comfort for Lilywhites

Dundalk 0 St Patrick's Athletic 0

Dundalk 0 St Patrick's Athletic 0 Neil Ahern

ST PATRICK'S Athletic's flawless start to the season came to end last night as they were held to an entertaining draw with Dundalk at Oriel Park.

It was billed locally as a top-of-the-table clash and judging by this display, these sides won't be too far off the pace come season's end.

The Louth outfit dominated for much of the night but Pete Mahon has instilled an organisation in this Pat's side which looks a million miles from the disjointed performances that landed them in a relegation battle last term.

The Saints, however, were very lucky not to be down to 10 men 25 minutes in when Dave Mulcahy launched into an extremely rash tackle as he and Shaun Kelly challenged for a 50-50 ball. However, referee Anthony Buttimer deemed the studs-first tackle worthy of only a booking.

Both side upped the tempo in the second half, with the hosts enjoying the lion's share of possession.

However, it was St Pat's who came closest on the hour mark when Ian Bermingham whipped in a beautiful in-swinging free kick and Conor Kenna must have thought he had broken the deadlock when he flicked on, but Peter Cherrie produced a superb reflex save.

The Lilywhites' Ross Gaynor looked a threat all night on the left flank and he almost caught Gary Rogers unawares just a minute later when he let fly with a thunderous half-volley, but the visiting keeper gathered it well on the stretch.

Dundalk defender Wayne Hatswell wasted a fine chance to claim all three points with nine minutes left when he rose above the crowd only to nod the ball straight into Rogers' midriff.

Alex Williams could have snatched the spoils at the death but man-of-the-match Cherrie blocked smartly to ensure both sides retained their unbeaten status this season.

DUNDALK -- Cherrie; Kelly, Breen, Burns, Hatswell; Maher, Mulligan, Miller, Gaynor; Fenn, Gaynor.

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Rogers; Pender, Kenna, Guthrie, Bermingham; McAllister (Sinnott 83), S Byrne, Mulcahy, Guy; Williams (Byrne 90), Faherty.

REF -- A Buttimer (Cork).

Irish Independent

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