Macdara Ferris reports from the RSC
St. Patrick’s Athletic manager Stephen O’Donnell cut a slightly frustrated figure on Friday night after the final whistle in Waterford.
Suspended from the technical area for this match, O’Donnell watched the 3-0 win for Waterford from the opposite side of the RSC from the main stand having seen his team miss early chances before conceding sloppy goals.
Both teams had the chance to move into fourth in the table with a win, but the Saints 3-0 loss to the Blues saw them drop down to eighth in the table four points clear of the bottom two sides at the end of the night.
“I thought we had all the ball and the chances to go 1-0 up and it would have been a totally different game,” said O’Donnell speaking to extratime.com after the game.
They missed a trio of clear cut chances through Jordan Gibson, Georgie Kelly and Luke McNally and handed the Blues an opener through a dreadful mix up at the back between Lee Desmond, Shane Griffin and goalkeeper Brendan Clarke.
“We’ve spoken about it internally that we can’t keep giving away the goals that we are giving. We are giving teams momentum to cling onto and giving them a confidence boost by allowing them go 1-0 up. We are doing it every week and it has to stop.”
O’Donnell had Alan Mathews in charge in the Saints dugout although, with the behind-closed-doors element to the game sitting from the stands, O’Donnell’s players could still hear the words of encouragement from their manager.
“It is not ideal,” said O’Donnell about not being in the dugout, “but the goals we have given away are nothing tactical or something that can be worked on. They are just errors - not cleaning your lines from a corner and it is a mix up for the first goal. That stuff is happening every week.”
Only three points separated third and eighth going into Friday’s game. “With an 18 game league it is just so congested. There will be big fluctuations and big movement and we just have to be on the right side of the results but at the minute we are not, as we are conceding some very poor goals.”
Next up for the Saints is a match against Sligo Rovers at Richmond Park next Saturday. “Sligo have gone on a little run and that is what we need to do. Go back to basics and we can’t be shipping those goals.”