Dundalk 0-1 St Patrick’s Athletic
A first-half strike from Mark Quigley gave Saint Patrick’s Athletic their first away points since March as they extended their winning sequence over ten-man Dundalk to eight matches with a 1-0 victory at Oriel Park on Friday night. Quigley took full advantage of the home side’s protests at what appeared to be a foul on Shaun Kelly in the St. Pat’s half as he raced through on goal before delightfully chipping the ball over the stranded Chris Bennion.
The Saints came into the game having lost their last four away outings and Dundalk were well in control of proceedings until Quigley scored his first goal of the season from open play as the Lilywhites defence went walkabout. Left-back Dave Rogers was then sent off for an off-the-ball incident, however, despite that, Sean Connor’s men should really have taken something from the game as Declan O’Brien and Darren Mansaram both rattled the woodwork before O’Brien, from the penalty spot, tamely fired straight at Gary Rogers.
Dundalk made four changes to the team that drew with Drogheda United seven days earlier. Michael Coburn, Chris Turner, who served an automatic one-match ban, Tiarnán Mulvenna and Ger Rowe all made way in place of Liam Burns, who returned after a four-match absence, Dave Rogers, who appeared for the first time since withdrawing early at Bohemians, Harpal Singh and Declan O’Brien, who was banned for last week’s deadlock on Boyneside. St. Pat’s, meanwhile, made two as Stuart Byrne and Jamie Harris came in for Garreth O’Connor and the suspended Jason Gavin.
The visitors were, however, forced into an early double change as they lost their central midfield partnership of Alan Crawley and Byrne as the injured duo were replaced by John Lester and O’Connor inside the opening eight minutes. Dundalk, after a lively opening, troubled Gary Rogers for the first time just before the quarter-hour as Dave Rogers’ cross found the head of Darren Mansaram who forced the St. Pat’s ‘keeper to tip the ball over the crossbar. Harris then headed over at the other end as Bennion flapped at a Lester free-kick, before Gary Rogers again saved well as he pushed a Singh free from 30-yards behind.
St. Pat’s took the lead just past the half-hour mark and it came in controversial circumstances as Shaun Kelly, after a marauding run forward, looked to have been taken out by Harris. However, the ref waved play-on and David Partridge’s pass picked out Quigley who had a clear run on goal. And the striker, whose only goal of the season to date had come with a penalty at Galway United three weeks ago, made no mistake as he scored his first goal from open play this term with a beautiful chip over the lone Bennion. After a quiet spell, Dundalk were hit with a further blow in the third minute of added time when Dave Rogers was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident.
That dismissal saw Dundalk start the second half with Michael Synnott pushed back into the left-back role with Shaun Kelly taking up a more attacking position on the right-wing. And it was a move that worked as the Lilywhites took control of the game and forced a succession of corners, before Michael Daly played a ball over the top which Declan O’Brien took down well before cutting inside and smashing the bar from six-yards. The home side continued to force the pressure and they again rattled the woodwork just past the hour-mark when the ball fell kindly for Mansaram who, from just five-yards, blasted a shot off the upright.
St. Pat’s rarely threatened during the second period although they did go close to making the game safe on 73 minutes when Quigley’s ambitious curling effort from the left wing almost found its way into the far top corner only for Bennion to tip it around the post. It was a stop which almost saved a point for Dundalk too as they were awarded a penalty just seconds later after Mansaram was pulled back inside the box. With Turner, who was successful with three spot-kicks already this season, suspended, O’Brien stood up but fired a tame effort straight at Rogers. A goal-mouth scramble from the resulting corner almost yielded an equaliser but nobody was able to toe-poke home before Mansaram blasted over from close-range.
On 83 minutes, the visitors again went close to doubling their lead when substitute Ger Rowe played Quigley onside. However, the 23-year-old forward was denied by a fine Bennion save. With three minutes left, youngster Enda Stevens played in Ryan Guy for another golden opportunity to wrap up the game but the Scottish ‘keeper again did what he had to as he blocked the shot before Thomas Heary cleared the danger. Bennion was then called into action again with sixty seconds remaining as he pushed a Quigley free-kick from 30-yards behind.
DUNDALK FC (4-4-2): Chris Bennion; Shaun Kelly, Liam Burns, Simon Kelly, Dave Rogers; Michael Synnott, Michael Daly (Ger Rowe 61), Thomas Heary, Harpal Singh (Tiarnán Mulvenna 61); Darren Mansaram, Declan O’Brien.
Booked: D Mansaram (56), L Burns (78).
Sent Off: D Rogers (45+3).
Unused Subs: Ryan Coulter (GK), Michael McGinlay, Sean Mackle.
SAINT PATRICK’S ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Gary Rogers; Stephen Maher David Partridge, Jamie Harris, Enda Stevens, Ryan Guy, Alan Cawley (John Lester 8), Stuart Byrne (Garreth O‘Connor 6), Darragh Ryan; Mark Quigley, Kyle Moran.
Goal: M Quigley (33).
Booked: J Lester (27), K Moran (45+1), G O’Connor (52), J Harris (56), M Quigley (60).
Unused Subs: Brendan Clarke (GK), Noel Haverty, Andy Haran.
Referee: Richie Winter (Dublin).