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Shamrock Rovers edge out Saints thanks to ex-Aston Villa defender's own goal

The Hoops claimed a 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic at Tallaght Stadium tonight.

The Rovers players celebrate their goal.
The Rovers players celebrate their goal.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Shamrock Rovers 1

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

Ben Blake reports from Tallaght Stadium

A KEVIN TONER own goal was enough to hand Shamrock Rovers three points at home to St Patrick’s Athletic tonight.

Stephen Bradley’s side had threatened throughout, but needed an unfortunate touch by the Saints defender on 77 minutes to seal the victory.

Only Kieran Sadlier’s penalty had prevented the Hoops from coming away from Turner’s Cross with a point on Monday, while Pat’s held Dundalk to an encouraging 0-0 draw in Inchicore on the same night.

Bradley opted to recall goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski ahead of Kevin Horgan, who has made a couple of costly mistakes as first-choice stopper this season. Ethan Boyle returned from injury to replace Joey O’Brien at full-back, while Trevor Clarke, Roberto Lopes and Greg Bolger also came back into the starting line-up.

The visitors, meanwhile, were unchanged from the game at Richmond Park four days ago.

Trevor Clarke with Conan Byrne Shamrock Rovers' Trevor Clarke tackles Conan Byrne of St Pat's. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

15 minutes of football came and went without a single opportunity of note created by either side.

Tallaght native Simon Madden, who left Rovers to join Pat’s during the close-season after four years on his second spell with the club, then drew a foul from Clarke to win a free-kick on the right-hand side of the opposing box.

Owen Garvan bent the set-piece towards the far corner, and Chencinski had to back-peddle to tip over.

Rovers responded with an attack that involved Daniel Carr and Clarke, as the latter crossed for Brandon Miele to head wide. They continued to boss possession — playing plenty of football in the opposing half –and Graham Burke fired a shot at Barry Murphy from 25 yards, but the former Rovers keeper showed good hands.

Pat’s have a reputation as a ball-playing side under Liam Buckley, but they were forced to sit in tight and occasionally attack on the counter during the first half. On one such occasion, Garvan crossed for Conan Byrne at the back post and he diverted it at goal, where Chencinski saved.

Stephen Bradley Simon Madden takes a throw as Rovers boss Stephen Bradley watches on. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

After the break, Saints winger Dean Clarke had some joy running at Boyle and the ex-Hoops man headed off target after winning the initial corner.

On the hour mark, Rovers had three bites of the cherry in the space of 30 seconds. Miele’s effort was blocked into the path of Carr, who swung a leg at it. The ball then fell to Burke and he wasn’t far away from finding the bottom corner.

Sean Kavanagh was next to go close — the former Fulham player curling a yard too high after Boyle had exchanged a one-two with Burke and got his cross in.

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Space began to open up at both ends heading into the final quarter of an hour, and Chencinski had to bat away a cut-back by Madden.

With 13 minutes on the clock, however, Rovers bagged what turned out to be the decisive goal. Boyle sent in a cross, Miele looked to flick on but Toner ended up turning into his own net.

Murphy spilled a drilled effort from Finn and the Rovers captain flashed a shot across goal, and there were some nervy moments before the final whistle as Pat’s pushed forward in vain.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Kevin Horgan; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Trevor Clarke; Greg Bolger, Ronan Finn  (c); Brandon Miele (Joel Coustrain 78), Graham Burke (Luke Byrne 88), Sean Kavanagh; Daniel Carr (Gary Shaw 66).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham (c); Owen Garvan, Darragh Markey (Jake Keegan 84), Ryan Brennan, Conan Byrne (Ian Turner 54), Dean Clarke (James Doona 84); Christy Fagan.

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Ben Blake

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