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St Pat's keep pace at the summit after Forrester and Benson goals down Drogheda

The experienced duo came up with the goods in the final half-hour to ensure it ended 2-0.

St. Patrick's Athletic's Robbie Benson and Darragh Markey of Drogheda United.
St. Patrick's Athletic's Robbie Benson and Darragh Markey of Drogheda United.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 2

Drogheda United 0

SECOND-HALF GOALS FROM Chris Forrester and Robbie Benson saw St Patrick’s Athletic to a 2-0 victory over Drogheda United to keep pace with Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Premier Division.

The experienced duo came up with the goods in the final half-hour as the clinical Saints finally ground down the visitors’ stern resistance.

Playing on the hottest day of the year posed difficulties for both sides – the sun beamed throughout despite the early-evening kick-off – but the Athletic were good value for the win over 90 minutes.

A tense first half yielded few clear-cut chances but both sides showed endeavour, with Forrester testing Drogs keeper David Odumosu with a drive from distance inside the first two minutes.

Former Saint Darragh Markey was lively on the right wing for Drogheda and his persistence that led to their first chance as he pulled the ball back for Mark Doyle, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

The home side really should have taken the lead moments later as wing-back Darragh Burns met Sam Bone’s cross with a diving header, but the ball flashed agonisingly over the bar.

Killian Phillips passed up a great chance to put Drogheda in front as he was presented with a free header from James Brown’s cross, but he didn’t make a solid connection and the chance was lost.

Drogheda lost Chris Lyons to an injury midway through the half and he was replaced by Jordan Adeyemo, who scored a spectacular clincher when the Boynesiders won 3-1 at United Park in May.

chris-forrester-applauds-the-fans-after-the-game Chris Forrester applauding the fans afterwards. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

His was a lonely pursuit as the sole striker for long periods, however, particularly as Stephen O’Donnell’s side took control as the break approached.

Lee Desmond was presented with a great chance after Paddy Barrett’s goalward header was saved, but he shanked his shot wide of the post with the goal gaping.

Matty Smith and Burns both missed the target as the Athletic ramped up the pressure in first-half injury time, and that intensity continued after the break.

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The opening goal came just past the hour-mark as Forrester tapped home from six yards after Barrett had picked out the run of Burns with a pinpoint diagonal pass from deep.

There was a hint of offside from both the initial pass and Burns’ centre, but the Saints pair appeared just about level and were given the benefit of the doubt by the officials.

And the win was wrapped up 11 minutes from time as Drogheda were caught short on the counter attack and Smith ran through on goal.

The Scot was denied by a fine close-range save from Odumosu, but the Ireland underage keeper could do nothing about the follow-up as Benson picked out the corner of the net.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros; Sam Bones, Lee Desmond, Paddy Barrett; Darragh Burns (Ian Bermingham 83), Alife Lewis, Robbie Benson, Jason McClelland; Chris Forrester, Billy King (Ben McCormack 76), Matty Smith.

Drogheda United: David Odumosu; James Brown, Daniel O’Reilly, Dane Masset, Conor Kane; Gary Deegan, Killian Philips (Dinny Corcoran 81), Luke Heeney (Jake Hyland 64); Mark Doyle (Ronan Murray 64), Darragh Markey, Chris Lyons (Jordan Adeyemo 28).

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