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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

Fagan fizzes in double as thumping win sends St Pats to league summit

Athlone Town proved no match for the reigning champions in Inchicore this evening.

James Chambers celebrates his goal for St Pats.
James Chambers celebrates his goal for St Pats.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 4-0 Athlone Town

CHRISTY FAGAN SCORED in either half as St Patrick’s Athletic moved to join Cork City at the top of the Premier Division with a 4-0 win against struggling Athlone.

Fagan’s second of the night — his eighth in the league this season — added the gloss to what played out as a routine night for the champions.

Once James Chambers had opened the scoring in the 12th minute, their fifth straight win in the league never seemed in doubt. For Athlone it is now 10 games without a point, leaving last year’s First Division champions rooted to the foot of the table and prime candidates for the drop.

The visitors knew they would have to endure long spells without the ball and as Pat’s dominated the early exchanges, Athlone’s back four pushed up to squeeze the space between the lines.

It only invited Pat’s creators to pick the lock though, and there’s no better man than Keith Fahey who slid a through ball into Chambers’ path to score. With Fahey happy to sit and hold in midfield, Chambers enjoyed his licence to roam and he was at the heart of Pat’s second when it came four minutes before the break.

After showing the full array of his tricks against Drogheda earlier this week, Chris Forrester had a relatively quieter night. Chambers’ raking cross-field pass gave him the chance to turn on the style and when he ran at Athlone captain Alan Byrne, it was a battle he was always going to win. His neat centre left just a simple tap-in for Fagan.

As long as the margin remained at two, Athlone had some hope of forcing a contest and they felt they might have deserved a penalty when Kenny Browne outmuscled Philly Gorman in the box just before the hour mark.

Derek Prendergast then had the visitors’ best chance on 67 minutes but he rifled his volley over the bar from close range. That was as good as it got as the floodgates opened late on with two Pat’s goals in the space of three minutes.

In one of those moments that haunts a keeper’s dreams, Craig Sexton miscontrolled a routine back-pass which allowed Lee Lynch to walk the ball over the line in the 75th minute. Athlone had hardly regrouped when Fagan liberally applied more salt two minutes later, finishing after some battling work by Conan Byrne.

ST PAT’S: Clarke, O’Brien (c), Browne, Hoare, Bermingham; Chambers (Fagan 77), Fahey (Bolger 69), Lynch, Byrne (McCormack 80), Forrester; Fagan.

Substitutes: Jennings, Foran, McCormack, FItzgerald, Brennan, Bolger, Kavanagh.

ATHLONE: Sexton, McMahon, Byrne (c), Prendergast, Clancy, Dillon (Sweeney 73), Hughes, O’Brien, Rusk, S Brennan (Marks 54), Gorman.

Substitutes: Skinner, Sweeney, D Brennan, Marks, Monaghan, Marlow.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

Tonight’s other Airtricity League results

Former Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova dies aged 45

Premier League preview: How to fill out your weekend football accumulator

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Niall Kelly

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