Forrester flashes a warning volley to title rivals
Drogheda United 0 St Patrick's Athletic 4
THIS game will be remembered for the stunning 40-yard Chris Forrester volley that sealed the three points for the champions. His confidence summed up their dominance.
The 21-year-old has already built up an impressive catalogue of stunning goals and his 40th-minute effort will feature prominently in the end-of-season montages.
Few would have the audacity to measure a punted Drogheda clearance and deliver it first-time over 'keeper Dave Ryan with one swipe of his right foot but Forrester is no ordinary player and he executed the idea perfectly.
"It was probably a bit outrageous of me to try it," admitted the ex-Belvedere schoolboy after watching the replay with a crowd of his team-mates who surrounded the club's cameraman to have a second look.
"I knew Dave would be off his line and I knew I might get it over him. It was just off the cuff and it's not something I'd ever practice; I'm just happy it went in."
The magic moment was also impeccably well timed in the context of the match. Lee Lynch had just put the Saints ahead two minutes earlier, and the half-time cushion gave them the platform for a comfortable victory.
"The pitch was a bit bobbly, a bit lively, and I thought we handled the conditions well," said Forrester, reflecting on a success that keeps the Saints two points off the pace set by Cork and Dundalk.
"I didn't know the other results (wins for the top two) but as long as we keep winning and let our football do the talking we'll do pretty well."
Certainly, the travelling support that made their way back down the M1 were in good spirits at the end.
This was arguably the most assured display from the Saints in the campaign to date, even if it took them a while to get into their stride.
Drogheda, who made three changes from the team which lost in Cork on Friday, started brightly but they lacked the control in midfield that the presence of Keith Fahey gives the Inchicore side.
Gradually, Liam Buckley's charges began to assert their superiority and the Louth men had already required a goal-line clearance from Gavin Brennan to preserve parity before they fell behind.
Casual defending from Alan McNally was punished by Christy Fagan, with the Saints' lone attacker darting into the area and producing a shot that Ryan could only parry into the path of the advancing Lynch, who finished expertly.
Forrester, deployed on the left, then stepped up for the headline contribution to kill the game as a contest, meaning that Robbie Horgan's decision to leave Gary O'Neill and Declan O'Brien in reserve for the second half failed to pay off as they could do little to influence the situation when they were eventually introduced.
The Dubliners continued to be dangerous and put a gloss on the scoreline with more wizardry from Forrester.
First, his perfectly weighted pass invited Conan Byrne to slot home from close range and then, as the game entered injury time, he embarked on a mazy run that took him past a posse of Drogheda defenders and Ryan before he applied the final touch.
If he can consistently produce this level of performance, the League of Ireland production line has another star in the making.
Drogheda United – Ryan; Daly, McNally, McGuigan, Grimes; Brady (O'Brien 78), Foley (Doyle 32), Maher, Walshe (O'Neill 56); Brennan; Hughes.
St Patrick's Athletic – Clarke; O'Brien (McCormack 82), Hoare, Foran, Bermingham; Chambers (Brennan 69), Fahey (Bolger 74); Byrne, Lynch, Forrester; Fagan.
Ref – R Rogers (Tipperary)