Michael Barker’s superb 75th-minute strike denied Sligo Rovers a first win of the season at the Showgrounds tonight.
The recalled Kieran Sadlier sizzled a low free-kick into the bottom corner on 34 minutes, giving Pat’s ’keeper Barry Murphy no chance to put Dave Robertson’s under-pressure side in front. The free-kick came about after Pat’s holding midfielder Patrick Cregg was shown yellow and given a stern talking-to by referee Jim McKell for a poor challenge on former Saint John Russell.
Prior to his goal, Sadlier had tested Murphy with a dipping shot on ten minutes, while Rovers defender Michael Leahy had to scramble Graham Kelly’s goalbound effort off the line on 19 minutes.
And the visitors went close again just two minutes into the second half, as Jonathan Lunney cut in from the right, and saw a fine effort smash back off the crossbar with Shaun Patton rooted to the spot.
Both Ian Bermingham and Billy Dennehy were denied from close range by last-ditch blocks from the Rovers rearguard as the half wore on, but the leveller arrived from an unlikely source as full-back Barker drove the ball home from the edge of the box following a corner.
Lunney went close once more for the visitors before the end, but dragged his effort narrowly wide after controlling the ball on the edge of the box. At the other end, Rovers sub Raffaele Cretaro went close to winning it with a stinging shot just after his introduction, but Murphy made the save.