League Report: St Patrick's Athletic 0 - 0 Sligo Rovers

Sat, Sep 12 2020

Ryan Kilbane reports from Richmond Park.

Liam Buckley secured a point on his return to Richmond Park as St Patricks Athletic and Sligo Rovers played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday evening.

Tonight’s game fell a day shy of the 90th anniversary of St Pat’s first-ever competitive game, a 7-3 win over Greenmount united. A match report described Pats play that night as “unselfish, methodical football while their forwards were lads who could seize upon opportunities and turn them to account”

However, the class of 2020 could not replicate the same exciting football here today. A 0-0 was probably the correct result in a match which saw both sides showcase decent approach play but ultimately lack the real cutting edge in front of goal  

The home side started the brightest and pressed Sligo well as they tried to play out from the back in the usual style of a Liam Buckley managed side. 

The pressure from Billy King and Jordan Gibson especially meant that even when Sligo could pass forward it tended to be rushed and inaccurate to their front men. 

When Pats attacked they seemed to target long balls down Sligo’s left for the pace of Jordan Gibson. The wide-man caused Regan Donelon problems early on but the chances ultimately came to nothing.

As the first half developed St Pat’s high tempo waned slightly and Sligo came into the game a bit more.

The ‘bit o’red’ had two good chances first when Junior cut in from the left after a cross-field pass but his subsequent shot was deflected wide.

Two minutes later came the best chance of the first half and it fell to Ronan Coughlan, Jesse Devers crossed brilliantly from the right and the forward headed just over. 

The half ebbed and flowed from that point but Sligo were nearly going in at the break in front. A free kick in the 41st minute deflected off a Pat’s defender and sailed narrowly wide, with Brendan Clarke stranded.

The second half started scrappier but the home side were unlucky not to take the lead, centre half Luke McNally showing good feet to beat a man on the edge of the box before shooting into the side netting. 

Skipper Robbie Benson then came within an inch of breaking the deadlock. The ex-Dundalk star met a Rory Feely cross and with Ed McGinty beat he saw his effort hit the post and roll across the line and out. 

However, just moments earlier Benson was involved in a nasty tackle with Sligo defender Teemu Penninkangas which could have ended in red on first viewing.

The Pat’s talisman did make contact with the ball but the studs up nature of the tackle meant another ref could have given him his marching orders. 

Benson again was instrumental in anything positive the home side created. His slick reverse pass for Georgie Kelly midway through the second half put the Donegal man through but McGinty in the Sligo goal saved brilliantly 

If the first half was 50/50 Pats really took control as the game went on. Chris Forrester seemed to have re-kindled some of his best form and linked up well with fellow midfielders Lennon and Benson. The former Peterborough captain hit the post with a curling side foot shot just after the 80th minute.  

As the game went on Liam Buckley seemed to be content with a point on this trip to the capital and resisted the temptation to bring an extra forward on in the dying moments. 

A late sending off for Niall Morahan in stoppage time gave St Pats a chance but ultimately Stephen O’Donnell’s men couldn’t capitalise.

The draw doesn’t really help either side too much, with the league so tight and so few games to go every win can change a teams outlook. Sligo stay 5th and St Pat’s are two places back in 7th.