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Fagan fluffs lines to let Sligo off the hook

SERGIO RAMOS, David Beckham and Roberto Baggio can welcome a new member into their support group -- his name is Christy Fagan and he skied a penalty.

Sure, the stakes weren't as high at the Showgrounds last night as they were in the Bernabeu on Wednesday, but three points are three points and the former Manchester United striker will be fuming with himself.

Handed the opportunity to secure victory when Jason McGuinness pushed Dean Kelly in the box, Fagan's effort went high and handsome, landing in the front garden of one of the row of houses on the Churchill Road.

"We're disappointed," St Pat's manager Liam Buckley said. "To win 2-1 here would have been great and I thought we played well. If we had won it with the penalty, I don't think anyone could have said we got out of jail. When you miss a penalty with three minutes to go, you're disappointed.

"Look, Ronaldo missed one, (Lionel) Messi missed one -- but that said it would have been a great three points, but we'll move on."

The game failed to live up to its billing as a clash of the league's best footballing sides and while the only unbeaten runs in the top flight remain, neither boss would have been satisfied with just a point.

The Saints probably deserved the win more, having fought their way back from the league leaders' fortuitous first-half opener when Brendan Clarke tried to punch Joseph Ndo's corner clear, but instead the ball cannoned off Kenny Browne and went into the net.

St Pat's responded well and could have been level within five minutes if it hadn't been for some heroics from 'keeper Gary Rogers.

Almost instantly John Russell had an effort cleared off the line by Sligo's Iarfhlaith Davoren.

Pat's almost levelled after the break when the hosts were caught napping and James Chambers' cross was almost knocked into the Sligo net by McGuinness, whose blushes were saved by Rogers.

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Sligo grew into the game after that and Danny North had a brilliant chance to double their lead, only to be denied by Clarke.

John Russell finally created the leveller by turning Davoren inside and out, before crossing for Sean O'Connor, who nodded home. But the Saints' finale was denied when the penalty went skyward.

SLIGO ROVERS -- Rogers; Ventre, McGuinness, Peers, Davoren; Boco, Ndo (Cawley 29), Lynch (Dillon 87), Gaynor (Cretaro 87); Quigley, North.

ST PATRICK'S ATH -- Clarke; O'Brien, Browne, Kenna, Bermingham; Chambers (O'Connor 58), Russell, Bolger; Forrester, J Kelly (D Kelly h-t); Fagan.

REF -- A Kelly (Cork).

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