St. Pats' Chris Forrester. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Saints March On

Hale and Forrester goals help 10-man Saints past Sligo

The vistors saw Oliver Younger dismissed for picking up two yellow cards.

Sligo Rovers 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 2

JESSICA FARRY reports from The Showgrounds.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC picked up their first win of the season on Friday night as they beat Sligo Rovers 2-0 at The Showgrounds.

First half goals from Ronan Hale and Chris Forrester sealed all three points in a wet and windy Sligo.

Both sides came into this game hoping to get their season kick-started. The hosts were defeated on the opening day of the season by Finn Harps, while Stephen O’Donnell’s men also suffered a defeat on their first day out, losing to Waterford.

Plagued with injuries, Liam Buckley was forced to make one change from last week, with Johnny Dunleavy, who hadn’t featured since the first pre-season game, replacing Danny Kane who underwent a procedure on his ankle.

Stephen O’Donnell made four changes to his side. Forrester, Doona, Oliver Younger and Ronan Hale all stepped in having been on the bench last week. They took the places of Jamie Lennon, Martin Rennie, Jason McClelland who all sat on the bench while Dan Ward missed out completely.

The hosts had the best of the early play, in what was a very open first 20 minutes.

The visitors boast strength in attack, and they went ahead on 26 minutes courtesy of a fine finish from Ronan Hale, arguably against the run of play.

The momentum was with the Dubliners at this stage, and Chris Forrester sent his free kick over the bar before Sligo keeper Ed McGinty had to come off his line to snuff out the danger as James Doona went on the attack.

Pats extended their lead on 36 minutes when Forrester found himself in space in the box, took a touch, and nicely slotted it into the corner.

Buckley replaced one Mayo man with another at half-time as he tried to find a way back into this game, with Ronan Murray being replaced by Jesse Devers.

It should have been 3-0 to Pats shortly after the restart when Kyle Callan McFadden was caught trying to play it out from the back, conceding possession to Billy King in the box.

The former Scottish U21 international just had McGinty to beat, but the 20-year-old made it difficult for King whose close range effort was saved.

Lee Desmond’s long range strike smacked the crossbar, before Forrester capitalised on a poor backpass from Darragh Noone. The former Peterborough man attempted to chip McGinty in the Sligo goals, but he just managed to get under it in time before it crossed the line.

Pats weren’t looking in any danger of losing their lead, but they weren’t helped by the sending off of Oliver Younger. The Burnley loanee picked up his first yellow on 65 minutes for dragging down Devers, and he picked up his second yellow for the same crime just three minutes later.

The Bit O’Red mustered up a couple of decent chances in the dying minutes, but the 10 men of the Saints were not to be beaten.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Teemu Penninkangas, Will Seymore, Kyle Callan McFadden; Johnny Dunleavy (Scott Lynch, 90), David Cawley, Niall Morahan, Garry Buckley, Darragh Noone; Ronan Murray (Jesse Devers, 46), Ronan Coughlan.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Rory Feely, Oliver Younger, Luke McNally, Ian Bermingham; James Donna (Dean Clarke, 58), Lee Desmond, Chris Forrester (Jamie Lennon, 70), Robbie Benson, Billy King; Ronan Hale Martin Rennie, 78).

Referee: Neil Doyle.
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