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Support for Saints' Liverpool loanee after uncharacteristic error

Manager Alan Mathews praised Vitezslav Jaros for his overall contribution after a mistake against Sligo on Friday.

St. Patrick's Athletic's goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros.
St. Patrick's Athletic's goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC manager Alan Mathews expressed support for goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros after he was partially at fault for the concession of a goal on Friday night amid a 3-0 loss to Sligo.

The 20-year-old Czech player could only meekly palm a Johnny Kenny header back into the striker’s path to slot home, as the visitors doubled their advantage at Richmond Park.

It was an uncharacteristic error in what was a sloppy performance in general from the Saints, who failed to earn the point that would have guaranteed them the Premier Division runners-up spot with two games to spare.

Jaros, though, has generally been excellent since signing on loan from Liverpool ahead of the start of the campaign, helping the club reach the FAI Cup final in addition to securing European football next year.

The youngster has impressed to the extent that while the club would ideally love to extend his stay, Jaros could well be set to feature at a higher level next season.

“‘Keepers make mistakes and they get highlighted,” Mathews said. “He’s been brilliant and I think people have recognised the quality that he’s brought to the team and the saves that he’s made.

“So absolutely no issue and that’s part and parcel of his learning. He’s 20 years of age and he plays like a fella who has been playing for 20 years with the composure and just his overall game. No issue, he’s made more saves than what we’d call tonight maybe, I don’t know, a mistake, a lapse.”

On his overall assessment of the match, Mathews said: “We’re all disappointed but the players have been excellent all season and have been very much together. We’ll take what we need to take out of this.

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“Sligo, in fairness to them, had an awful lot to play for. They’ve qualified for Europe, that’s that done, so that’s a big achievement for anybody. We knew that they’d come with fight and aggression and games between us have been tight enough this year. So from our standards that we would have tried to set, from the games that had been played before tonight, we just didn’t reach them in the first half.

“I’m just disappointed with the way we played in the first half. We didn’t have intensity or fluency. We were just off the pace of it and gave away two soft goals, particularly the second one [just before] half-time gave them an awful lot to hang on to. We played better in the second half and probably could have scored one or two. It never came and ultimately, the third goal summed up our evening. It’s a silly free-kick that just drifts by everybody and goes into the back of the net.”

Stephen O’Donnell did not attend the game having felt unwell earlier on Friday, but Mathews played down the coach’s illness.

“It was just a precautionary thing really, he decided to stay away. I don’t know whether he’s regretting it or delighted that he did, but no, there’s no issue there whatsoever.”

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Paul Fennessy

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