Friday 23 March 2018

McAllister magic steals limelight from silky Ndo


Neil Ahern

IT began as the Joseph Ndo show, but the former Cameroon international soon became a sideshow as a delicious Dave McAllister strike ensured St Patrick's Athletic stayed top of the pile last night.

The former Shelbourne winger lit up the stadium with a sumptuous 25-yarder that rifled into Richard Brush's top left-hand corner via the underside of the crossbar.

In the process, the 21-year-old ended the league's last remaining unbeaten record and condemned Paul Cook's side to a third defeat to this opposition in 11 days, after the Saints knocked the westerners out of the Setanta Sports Cup last week.

Having signed almost a full month ago, it's been a long wait for the Bit O'Red faithful to see arguably the league's most talented player turn out in a Sligo shirt and it didn't take long for them to begin chanting Ndo's name.

On one of his former stomping grounds, the gifted attacker flaunted a few delicate touches early on and briefly gave the visitors what he has given with every club he has ever played for in this league -- an assuredness in possession and unrivalled ability to make things happen.

He came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when, after 16 minutes, he twisted, turned and then checked inside before firing narrowly over from the edge of the box.

Pat's were generally on top, though, in an opening half short on clear-cut chances and McAllister was unlucky to see his side-footed strike tipped over spectacularly by Brush five minutes later.

Sligo defender Mauro Almeida suffered a serious-looking injury to his Achilles midway through the half and the hosts capitalised, splitting Sligo's back four open courtesy of good interplay between Paul Byrne and Vinny Faherty, before the latter fired harmlessly into Brush's hands.

Rovers were still in the game but things turned a little flat in the second half, as they began to run out of ideas, dwelling on the ball in the final third before harmlessly conceding possession.

Notably, Ndo was one of the main culprits, gifting possession to Ryan Guy twice in the space of two minutes shortly after the resumption.

And 12 minutes into the second half McAllister stole the limelight before the league's best defence held solid in the face of a late spell of sustained pressure.

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Rogers, Pender, Kenna, Guthrie, Lynch; McAllister, Byrne, Mulcahy, Guy (Cash 82); Byrne (Williams 75), Faherty (Faherty 90).

SLIGO ROVERS -- Brush, Ventre, Peers, Almeida (Whelan 26), Keane; Dillon (Doyle 69), Ryan, Doninger, McCabe (O'Grady 80); Ndo, Amond.

REF -- A Kelly (Cork).

Irish Independent

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