Fagan puts St Patrick's in driving seat

 

St Pats 1 IBV 0:THESE ARE interesting times around Inchicore. Gaining in confidence, St Patrick’s Athletic dealt with the burden of expectancy that accompanied them into this Europa League tie at Richmond Park. IBV were rugged, but Liam Buckley’s charges eked out a deserved victory. They will need to be similarly organised in Iceland next week for the return leg, but there was evidence to suggest they should clear the IBV hurdle.

Crucial contests are arriving thick and fast for the Saints as on Sunday they head to Tallaght for a Dublin derby with Shamrock Rovers.

Buckley’s 4-3-3 formation means St Patrick’s usually enjoy plenty of possession and that is exactly what happened. The only significant worry during the first half was the fact IBV twice went close to nicking the lead against the run of play. St Patrick’s were fortunate the woodwork prevented IBV hitting the front in the 12th minute as Christian Olsen’s effort shaved the crossbar.

In the 20th minute Conor Kenna made a smashing intervention to deny Tryggvi Gudmundsson following nifty approach work by Brynjar Gudjonsson and Ian Jeffs. Still the Dubliners were probing throughout, eventually scoring in the 39th minute as James Chambers’ brave tackle ensured Ger O’Brien was allowed rifle an inviting cross from the right. Christy Fagan, ever the opportunist, supplied a confident close range finish and St Patrick’s went in at the interval armed with an advantage.

After the restart there were moments of frustration for the 1,652 spectators but St Patrick’s were sensible throughout. The locals were hoping for a second goal, but on the park IBV defended deep so chances were scarce.

Still a victory earned with a clean sheet leaves the Dublin side in a commanding position ahead of their trip to Iceland. The fascinating collision with Rovers, though, is what will dominate the St Patrick’s thoughts until Sunday.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O’Brien, Kenna, Browne, Bermingham; Chambers, Bolger, Russell; Meenan, Fagan (D Kelly, 48), OConnor (Flood, 87).

IBV: Dihara; Baldock, Gudjonsson, Christiansen, Garner; Jeffs (Thorvardarson, 89), Thorarinsson, Valdimarsson, Mawejje (Olafsson, 82); Gudmundsson, Olsen (Spear, 43).

Referee: I Satchi (Moldova).

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