Saturday 25 November 2017

North hits the spot as Saints march to top

ST PATRICK'S ATH 1, bray wanderers 0,

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

A MAN named North kept the Saints marching in the right direction as Pete Mahon's men went top of the Aitricity League for the first time this season.

Next stop Tallaght and what should be a cracking derby against the Shamrock Rovers side they replaced at the summit last night thanks to their 11th win in a 14-game unbeaten run.

This wasn't their best display of that sequence, but in shocking conditions against a dogged Bray, they took their chance and ran.

Shorn of their captain and best player, Gary Dempsey, the Seagulls struggled to exert their usual control against the in-form Saints in a match that hinged on the controversial 55th-minute intervention of linesman Marc Douglas, who adjudged Adam Mitchell to have deliberately prevented a goal with his hand.


He saw red -- and left the field protesting that he had blocked Brian Shortall's effort with his chest -- and Danny North stepped up to rattle the net with his 11th goal of the season.

Mahon's men were well on top with the extra man, but they couldn't find a way past Matt Gregg again despite chances for Anto Murphy, Derek Doyle and Paul Crowley, who fired just wide from Stephen Bradley's corner.

The lively Daryl Kavanagh threaded the ball through for Murphy, who cut on to his left, but fired high and wide. A quick free-kick from Shane McFaul then released the winger up the right, his low pass freed David McMillan, but his effort was straight at Gregg.

They almost regretted those late chances as Pat Devlin made three changes with six minutes left and went in search of a point.

Danny O'Connor had a curled effort whistle just wide of the upright, before Gary Rogers' reflexes foiled Conor Murphy and a Derek Pender lunge denied O'Connor an open goal. The resultant corner saw a dramatic goal-line scramble, before Devlin joined Mitchell in the stands for something he said to the referee after Kavanagh went close on the counter-attack.

ST PATRICK'S ATH -- Rogers; Pender, E McMillan, Shortall, Bermingham; Murphy (Stewart 93), Bradley (McFaul 78), Crowley, Doyle; Kavanagh, North (D McMillan 73).

BRAY WDRS -- Gregg; S O'Connor, Mitchell, Prendergast, Kendrick (Houston 84); Mulroy (O'Neill 84), Doyle (McGuinness 84), Shields, D O'Connor, Massey; Murphy.

REf -- N Doyle (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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