Dundalk’s Robert Mahon and Daryl Horgan with Luke Turner of St. Patrick's Athletic. Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Managerless Dundalk still awaiting first win of the season

St Patrick’s Athletic were held to a scoreless draw at Oriel Park.

Dundalk 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

Niall Newberry reports from Oriel Park

MANAGERLESS DUNDALK STILL await their first win in this season’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division after being held to a scoreless draw by St Patrick’s Athletic.

The Lilywhites, yet to score a league goal at Oriel Park this year, did show signs of improvement, but couldn’t find the goal which would have etched them closer to safety.

Like all fixtures played this weekend, kick-off at Oriel was delayed by five minutes — a protest which arose as a result of payment disputes between match officials and the FAI.

Such a delay likely did little to calm the nerves of Dundalk interim head coaches Liam Burns and Brian Gartland, both of whom took to the dugout for the first time following Stephen O’Donnell’s dismissal from the division’s bottom side earlier in the week.

One player reinstated by the new management team was George Shelvey, but the returning goalkeeper was almost caught out after 11 minutes, with Mason Melia capitalising on a lapse of concentration before his angled attempt veered off target.

Not long after that, St Pats midfielder Jamie Lennon had a shot from outside the box sail miles over the crossbar, epitomising what was a dour opening to events in Louth.

Dundalk’s first effort came on 15 minutes when Daryl Horgan dragged a shot wide, shortly before Robbie Mahon’s cross was hooked wide at the back post by Archie Davies.

At the opposite end, a speculative long-range effort from Chris Forrester rippled the side-netting, but later in the half, the St Pats talisman — teed up on the edge of the area by Melia — forced Shelvey into a decent save in what was the game’s first shot on goal.

Brandon Kavanagh’s free-kick from distance stung the hands of Shelvey, before a corner from the left, taken by the same player, was headed not far off target by Conor Keeley.

After spending much of the opening 45 minutes on the back foot, The Lilywhites started the second half brightly, beginning when the centrally-placed Horgan wriggled away from Aaron Bolger before curling a decent effort just over the top of Danny Rogers’ bar.

John Mountney then fired wide, moments before the Dundalk captain’s corner from the left was headed wide in a crowded penalty area by substitute Mayowa Animasahun.

In a throwback to the good old days for the hosts, Robbie Benson unleashed a powerful shot from distance, which then had to be battered away by St Pats goalkeeper Rogers.

Against the run of play, the visitors should have broken the deadlock on 56 minutes when Lennon’s long punt up the pitch caught Dundalk cold — a lapse which sent the electric Melia one-on-one with Shelvey. However, with the odds stacked firmly against him, the ex-Nottingham Forest stopper somehow denied Melia to keep the score at 0-0.

The match reverted to monotony after that, though, with left-back Zak Bradshaw’s shot, which flew over shy of the hour-mark, the last noteworthy attempt from either side before substitute Jake Mulraney hit the woodwork for St Pats deep into stoppage-time.

Dundalk: George Shelvey; John Mountney (Sam Durrant 80), Zak Johnson (Mayowa Animasahun 22), Andy Boyle, Zak Bradshaw; Scott High, Robbie Benson; Archie Davies, Daryl Horgan (Dara Keane 68), Robbie Mahon (Ryan O’Kane 80); Jamie Gullan (Cameron Elliott 68).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers; Luke Turner, Joe Redmond, Conor Keeley, Anto Breslin; Aaron Bolger (Kian Leavy 69), Jamie Lennon; Brandon Kavanagh (Romal Palmer 83), Chris Forrester, Alex Nolan (Jake Mulraney 69); Mason Melia (Ruairi Keating 90).

 Referee: Gavin Colfer

Attendance: 2,325

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