Sunday 25 March 2018

Forrester brace keeps Saints in hunt for title

St Pat's Athletic 3 Longford Town 0

Chris Forrester celebrates with Ian Bermingham after scoring for St Patrick’s Athletic against Longford Town
Chris Forrester celebrates with Ian Bermingham after scoring for St Patrick’s Athletic against Longford Town
Aaron Greece is closed down by Longford Town's Jamie Mulhall
Aaron Greece drives the ball forward ahead of Longford's Stephen Rice
St Pat's Sam Verdon and Longford's Connor Powell contest a loose ball
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Six days before they travel to Latvia for a Europa League tie, St Pat's manager Liam Buckley could hardly wished for a more routine victory at Richmond Park.

After the mid-season break, Longford Town played as if they were still on holiday while Pat's picked up where they left off and extended their winning run to four league games.

Buckley opted not to risk Christy Fagan who was struggling with an injury and instead Ireland U-19 international Jamie McGrath led the line.

In Fagan's absence, Forrester was afforded more of a free role by Buckley and he thrived in the open space in front of Longford's back four.

James Chambers capped a fine individual display with a goal and his controlling presence in the middle of the park allowed the likes of Forrester and Aaron Greene to run in behind the Longford defence all evening.

Sean Hoare brilliantly picked out Forrester with a raking 40-yard pass and the in-form attacker took one touch on his chest before delicately lifting the ball over the head of Paul Skinner in the Town goal after 18 minutes.

Tony Cousin's side almost drew level against the run of play when Gary Shaw breezed beyond Jason McGuinness and saw his shot parried by Brendan Clarke. Kevin O'Connor couldn't quite stretch enough to the rebound, which went over the bar.

That was a big let-off for the home side and they upped the tempo again and Forrester very nearly put his side two up but he didn't get the right connection on Chambers' cross.

Forrester had no such trouble doubling his side's lead and his own tally from the spot, four minutes before the break.

Chambers found Greene with a through-ball and Martin Deady's clumsy challenge left the referee with an easy decision. Forrester coolly converted for a 2-0 lead at the break.

Longford, in truth, were fortunate not to be two players down as well as goals after Skinner and Deady both escaped with yellow cards. On another day, they were red.

Any hope of Longford mounting a comeback were dashed four minutes after the restart when Chambers volleyed home Conor McCormack's cross.

Greene almost got in on the act but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Longford continued to offer little threat to a Pat's side who were completely in control since Forrester opened the scoring.

After the defeat to Dundalk, Buckley maintained that Pat's were out of the title race and although they will need the league leaders to drop points along the way, his side are hitting form at just the right time.

St Patrick's athletic - Clarke; O'Brien (c), Hoare, McGuinness, Bermingham; Chambers (Verdon 64), Bolger (Desmond 76), McCormack; Greene, McGrath (Langley 70), Forrester.

Longford Town - Skinner; Mulhall, Rossiter, Gorman, Deady (Shannon 74); Simon (O'Sullivan h-t), O'Connor, Rice, Salmon (c) (Ben Mohamed 60), Powell; Shaw.

Ref - P Tuite (Dublin)

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