|Match Report||Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic both remain unbeaten after four games played following a tense 0-0 draw at Oriel Park on Friday night.|
A lacklustre first half gave way to a pulsating second in which both sides had chances to win the game.
In the end though, both camps will be happy with the point although Dundalk will feel that they should have been playing for 45 minutes with an extra man.
The visitors arrived with a 100% record after three games and it showed in their play as they knocked the ball about brightly in the opening 10 minutes.
Alex Williams, returning to the club he lined out for last season, posed a threat with his movement all night and he gave his old employers a reminder of his talent when he flashed an effort wide in the ninth minute.
Dundalk's first chance arrived four minutes later. Neale Fenn's 25-yard free-kick hit the wall and Tom Miller went close with the rebound, his effort just going past Gary Rogers' left hand post.
Things threatened to spill out of control in the 25th minute when Dave Mulcahy launched himself into a reckless tackle on Shaun Kelly.
Luckily for the Pat's midfielder, referee Anthony Buttimer deemed yellow a sufficient punishment, much to the visible anger of Dundalk boss Ian Foster.
It certainly lifted the temperature at Oriel Park and the home side responded by going close on two occasions.
From the resulting free-kick, Wayne Hatswell saw a volley well held by Rogers and JJ Melligan was unlucky to see his cross taken off Fenn's toe after the midfielder had skipped past Alan Kenna on the byline.
At the other end, Dave McAllister almost stunned the home crowd with a 30-yard snapshot that had Peter Cherrie back peddling quickly to tip the ball over his bar.
The first-half came to an end with the home side up in arms again.
Mulcahy found himself very fortunate not to be heading to the dressing room early when he hauled Stephen Maher back right on the touchline.
It looked a certain caution, and inevitable dismissal, but Buttimer again raised the mercury levels with his decision to award just a free kick.
Things finally came to life in the second-half. The Saints had a penalty appeal waved away in the 57th minute when Conor Kenna's header struck Garry Breen.
Ian Bermingham, dangerous throughout with his deliveries, then had alarm bells ringing in the Dundalk penalty area again two minutes later when he picked out Kenna with an inswinging free-kick.
Thankfully for the home side Cherrie was well placed to tip the ball over his bar.
The Lilywhites responded with Ross Gaynor smacking a first time volley at Rogers and Fahrudin Kuduzovic curled just wide from 20 yards.
The clearest goalscoring chances arrived in the final 10 minutes.
Dundalk' s opportunity fell to their player-coach Wayne Hatswell.
JJ Melligan swung in a free from the right. The full-back powered a header at goal but fortunately for Pat's it went straight at Gary Rogers.
Williams had a chance to win all three points for Pete Mahon's men three minutes later.
The hitman played a delightful one two with strike partner Vinny Faherty, racing through to face Cherrie one-on-one.
However it was Dundalk's Scot who won the duel with his fellow countryman, standing tall to block the effort.
Peter Cherrie; Shaun Kelly, Garry Breen, Liam Burns, Wayne Hatswell; Stephen Maher, Tom Miller, JJ Melligan; Fahrudin Kuduzovic, Neale Fenn, Ross Gaynor.
St Patrick's Athletic
Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Conor Kenna, Shane Guthrie, Ian Bermingham; David McAllister (Conor Sinnott, 83 mins), David Mulcahy, Stuart Byrne, Ryan Guy; Vinny Faherty, Alex Williams (Paul Byrne, 89 mins).
Referee: A. Buttimer