Billy King’s 90th minute volley saw St Pats pick up their first win of the season in a 2-1 victory over Drogheda United in a rip-roaring second half at Richmond Park.
The game looked set to end in a draw after Dinny Corcoran cancelled out Ronan Coughlan’s opener after a dull first half gave away for a helter skelter finish.
The hosts started the game well and the first chance fell to Matty Smith in the seventh minute who was played in down the right hand side by Chris Forrester and Smith blasted his shot wide at the near post when he probably should have hit the target.
Two minutes later Mark Doyle shot straight at Vitezslav Jaros after David Odumoso’s long ball found Chris Lyons who showed some neat control and played a lovely ball in behind for Doyle.
Matty Smith nearly turned a Rory McClelland corner home in the 13th minute after Drogheda failed to clear but Smith could only nudge the second ball into the hands of Odumosu.
The best chance of the half fell to the visitors. Former Saint Darragh Markey went flying down the right wing and his cross was just too high for the onrushing Doyle who headed over at the back post.
The first half was a scrappy affair in truth, with Pats struggling to break down a robust Drogs. The visitors found it difficult to keep possession often going direct.
The game got a bit feisty as tackles flew in. Referee John McLoughlin dished out yellows to Gary Deegan and then Lyons who hacked down Matty Smith on the touchline.
Jamie Lennon was then cautioned for Pats after a late challenge on Doyle.
Pats had a half-hearted appeal turned down after Forrester went down in the area after some lovely play from the hosts. Centre back Lee Desmond found space down the left and he played the ball across to McClelland who crossed from the edge of the box to Smith who set up Forrester with a deft layoff. The former Peterborough man went down inside the area but John McLoughlin saw nothing doing.
Pats were forced into a change on the stroke of half time, Ian Bermingham replacing Shane Griffin after what looked like a nasty shoulder injury.
Pats flew out of the traps in the second half and Robbie Benson should have opened the scoring in the 47th minute but he fired wide from eight yards after some intricate play from Smith and Ronan Coughlan on the edge of the penalty area.
The hosts were getting more space in midfield and centre back Sam Bone stepped forward but sliced horribly wide from 30 yards with other options available to him.
Pats piled on the pressure and could have been ahead through a volleyed effort from Smith and then Odumosu saved smartly to foil Coughlan who shot from the edge of the box.
The hosts’ pressure finally paid off. Ronan Coughlan opened the scoring by turning Bermingham’s cross home from close range in the 59th minute.
Drogheda manager Tim Clancy turned to his bench midway through the second half, introducing former Bohemians marksman Dinny Corcoran and Brandon Bermingham replacing Lyons and Markey.
Corcoran made an instant impact, scrambling the ball home to level for the visitors after a moment to forget for Jaros, who fumbled Doyle’s cut-back. A goal very much against the run of play in what was Drog’s first foray forward.
Drogheda, spearheaded by Corcoran sprung into life. They enjoyed a sustained spell of possession, putting pressure on the Saints midfield for the first time in the game.
The last 15 minutes made for a rip-roaring finish as both sides pushed for a winner. While the quality was lacking the game was played at a frantic pace.
Liverpool loanee, Jaros was called into action to palm away a couple of dangerous crosses from Mark Doyle and Ronan Murray while Pats had a couple of penalty appeals turned down in quick succession.
Seven minutes from time Coughlan glanced a Darragh Burns corner wide.
Jaros produced a smart save at his near post to deny Murray from an acute angle as Drogs pushed for a winner themselves.
Mark Doyle had a goalbound volley blocked brilliantly from Sam Bone. Pats went straight up the other end Billy King swivelled and fired wide from 20 yards.
Ronan Coughlan was denied a brace when his effort hit the post but in the 90th minute Pats won the game courtesy of substitute Billy King who burst in at the back post to volley home Burns’ cross and break Drogheda hearts.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros; Shane Griffin (Ian Bermingham 45), Lee Desmond, Sam Bone, John Mountney; Chris Forrester, Robbie Benson (c) (Billy King 80), Jamie Lennon, Jason McClelland (Darragh Burns 70); Rónán Coughlan, Matty Smith.
Subs not used: Josh Keeley, Kian Corbally, Alfie Lewis, Ben McCormack, Nahum Melvin-Lambert, Barry Murphy.
Booked: Jamie Lennon (22), Lee Desmond (82)
Drogheda United: David Odumosu; Daniel O'Reilly, Dane Massey, Conor Kane, James Brown; Darragh Markey (Brandon Bermingham 67), Jake Hyland (c) (Hugh Douglas 90), Gary Deegan; Ronan Murray, Chris Lyons (Dinny Corcoran 67), Mark Doyle.
Subs not used: Jack Tuite, Killian Phillips, Colin McCabe, Luke Heeney, James Clarke, Jordan Adeyemo.
Booked: Chris Lyons (20) .
Referee: John McLoughlin
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Ronan Coughlan (St Patrick's Athletic)
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