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  • Friday February 25th, 2022 @ 22:00

Report: Saints 1 - 2 Sligo Rovers

St Patrick's Athletic's first home game of the 2022 season ended in defeat at the hands of Sligo Rovers on Friday evening in Inchicore. Colm Horgan's strike just before the half time break and Aidan Keena's goal midway through the second half was enough for a Bit O' Red victory. Tundi Owolabi got his first for the club late on to pull one back, but it was too little, too late as St Pats succumbed to their first league defeat of 2022.

The first chance fell to the visitors just nine minutes in. Niall Morahan played a neat ball through to Aidan Keena, with the latter's shot thundering back off the crossbar. Keena almost bundled the ball over the line just one minute later again after a goalmouth scramble, but Anto Breslin was on hand to clear off the line and out of danger.

St Pats found their stride and looked dangerous on the counter attack with Darragh Burns looking especially dangerous. However, chances were limited and Eoin Doyle's low, dangerous cross across the face of goal, which Ed McGinty cut out proved to be the only half chance in the opening 15 minutes for The Saints after a lively start to the game.

Chances dried up for a period in the first half as both defences looked strong in their tackling and blocking, leading to a frustrating first half on the attacking front.

Just as the game looked destined to be level at half time, the visitors took the lead. Sligo broke at pace and Adam McDonnell played a terrific cross field ball across to Colm Horgan who was bounding down on goal. His touch was enough to take it over St Pats goalkeeper Joseph Annang and despite his best efforts, he was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line for the opening goal of the game.

The goal after 40 minutes of play was enough to give Liam Buckley's men a 1-0 lead at Ben Connolly's half time whistle.

The Saints looked a lot brighter in the early stages of the second half as they went in search of an equaliser. Eoin Doyle's tame shot didn't have enough venom in it to trouble McGinty in the Sligo goals and McGinty was alert seven minutes later when Billy King's dipping, swerving shot needed his attention as he palmed the ball away.

Despite controlling a lot of possession, The Saints could not break down a stubborn Sligo defence and they always looked dangerous on the break, Aidan Keena's shot forcing Annang into making an impressive save before going close moments later with a glancing header.

Keena was the liveliest in the Sligo attack and he forced Annang into another brilliant save 70 minutes in when they broke at pace.

77 minutes in and Keena finally got his goal. He broke again at pace following another long ball. Keena burst onto it and unleashed a powerful shot. Joe Redmond did manage to get a block on the shot, however the ricochet floated over a helpless Annang in the Saints goal to gift Sligo a 2-0 lead.

St Pats never gave up and they got their reward with eight minutes remaining on the clock. Eoin Doyle slipped a beautiful ball into the path of substitute Tunde Owolabi who did well to make space for a shot before unleashing a rocket into the roof of the net for his first for the club and handing The Saints a lifeline in the process.

Mark Doyle almost grabbed the equaliser when Burns did well to head the ball into his path, but Doyle's half volley was straight at McGinty who saved well.

St Pats threw everything they had at the game in stoppage time and Joe Redmond went agonisingly close from a Darragh Burns corner when his header cannoned off the woodwork but it was not to be as Sligo held on to claim all three points.

St Patricks Athletic: Joseph Anang; Jack Scott, James Abankwah, Joe Redmond, Anto Breslin; Jamie Lennon (Tunde Owolabi 71), Chris Forrester; Darragh Burns, Billy King (Adam Murphy, 85), Mark Doyle; Eoin Doyle. Subs not used: David Odumosu, Ian Bermingham, Tom Grivosti, Ben McCormack, Adam O'Reilly, Sam Curtis.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, Nando Pijnaker, Garry Buckley, Robbie McCourt; Will Fitzgerald, Niall Morahan (David Cawley, 71) Greg Bolger, Adam McDonnell; Aidan Keena (Max Mata, 88), Karl O'Sullivan (Mark Byrne, 78). Subs not used: Richard Brush, Lewis Banks, Jordan Hamilton, Seamus Keogh, Paddy Kirk, Peter Maguire.

Referee: Ben Connolly.

Next Fixture

Derry City / April 22nd @ 7:45pm
Competition: League
Venue: Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium
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St Patrick's Athletic FC

Founded in 1929 the 'Saints' are the current FAI Cup holders and play in the Premier Division of the SSE Airtricity League at Richmond Park, in Inchicore Dublin 8, Ireland.

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