Tim Clancy used the bench to great effect as St Patrick’s Athletic extended their winning streak to five games by defeating Drogheda United at Head in the Game Park.
The feat was even more impressive considering Pat was forced to play the match with ten men for over 70 minutes after Anto Breslin’s third red card of his career.
Substitute Mark Doyle broke the deadlock and the other substitute, Tondi Olabi, was awarded a penalty in injury time, scored by Chris Forrester. In scoring, he did what Eoin Doyle failed to do early on.
The Saints join champions Shamrock Rovers, Derry City and Dundalk as teams who have rallied together in five winning games this season. The three points mean that Pat’s interest in Europe next year may not depend on fourth place and the results of the FA Cup. They remain in contact with the two sides above.
The Butts, who have had 19 of the 24 points available against the Drogs since the start of the 2021 campaign, arrived on the hunt for their fifth consecutive league win – a feat they haven’t accomplished in more than seven years.
They totally deserved it and Clancy can be very satisfied with the way his changes have affected the game. Standing in the way of a sixth straight win is a great appearance for Derry next week.
It was only four minutes into the match when referee Sean Grant referred to the visitors’ penalty as the first penalty kick of the match. Evan Weir was sentenced to deal with Servi Atakay’s cross. Doyle was turned down by gorgeous Colin McCabe who ran down to his left and saved.
Grant got engaged again shortly after when Breslin was fired. He foolishly raised his arm to Luke Heeney and Drogheda’s man slammed into the ground. No one disputed the color of the card.
The match was goalless in the first half and given the record numbers for both teams on that front this season, it was no surprise. The break indicated that United had failed to score for the 22nd time in 30 matches this season. It was also the 21st occasion in the 29th that the Saints kept a clean sheet in the intervening period.
Clancy introduced Mark Doyle and Barry Cotter and both contributed to the Bates taking the game to the hosts, rather than falling back with one less man. The opening arrived in 70 minutes. Mark Doyle headed after Joe Redmond fell from a free kick from Forster.
Atakayi also approached, which is more than can be said of Drogheda. They competed but as happened in Sligo last weekend, they were honest in the final third. In the last minute of injury time, Tond Olabi fell under the challenge of Andrew Quinn. Grant pointed and found Forrester the corner.
Drogheda United: Colin McCabe; Luke Heaney, Andrew Quinn, Evan Weir, Georgie Boynton (Dan Massey, 76); Gary Deegan and Dara Nugent (Chris Lyons, 71); Dylan Grimes (Adam Foley, 69), Dara Markey, Dale Rooney (Ryan Brennan, 69); Dean Williams.
St. Patrick’s Athlete: Danny Rogers. Harry Brokebank, Joe Redmond, Tom Grivosti; Sam Curtis (Barry Cotter, 46), Thes Timmermans (Mark Doyle, 46), Chris Forrester, Adam O’Reilly, Anto Breslin; Serge Atakay (Tunde Olabi, 87), Owen Doyle (Jimmy Lennon, 75).
Referee: Sean Grant