St Patrick’s Athletic 3 Longford Town 2
Billy King hit the pick of the goals to delight a crowd of some 2,000 – the largest at Richmond Park in 18 months – as St Patrick's kept on the coattails of Shamrock Rovers at the top of the Premier Division table.
Brimful of confidence on the back of their superb home form, St Pat’s patient probing brought its reward on 28 minutes.
Chris Forrester’s challenge won the ball from Darragh Nugent with Alfie Lewis picking up the loose ball to lay it off to King some 30 yards out.
With little on, the 27-year-old Scottish player stepped forward to strike a right-footed shot that was still rising as it arrowed past Lee Steacy to the back of the net for a stunning fourth goal of the campaign.
Despite their first-half dominance, St Pat’s were stunned when sloppy defending resulted in a Longford equaliser six minutes into the second half.
Goalkeeper Barry Murphy, playing his first game in over two years, spilled Dean Byrne's free kick with Dean Williams then clumsily fouled by Paddy Barrett.
Williams exacted further punishment with a superbly struck free kick that rifled through the poorly assembled St Pat’s wall to beat Murphy’s dive to enter the corner of the net.
St Pat's pressed to regain their lead, Matty Smith setting up King to shoot with the excellent Aaron O'Driscoll there to get his body in the way to block the fiercely struck shot.
But the pressure on the visitors duly mounted and they succumbed on 67 minutes.
O'Driscoll stretched to cut out a dangerous cross from half-time substitute Jak Hickman.
The ball bounced up perfectly for the arriving Forrester to blast a volley to the roof of the net.
Teenager Darragh Burns sealed St Pat’s win on 87 minutes, scooping home after King and Forester carved the opening.
Substitute Conor Davis got Longford second goal when tapping home Aaron McNally's cross six minutes into stoppage time.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Murphy; Bone, Barrett, Abankwah (Hickman, h-t), Bermingham; Burns (Melvin-Lambert, 88), Lewis, Forrester, Smith; King, Coughlan (McCormack, 73).
LONGFORD TOWN: Steacy; Elworthy (Warfield, 73), J. Manley, O'Driscoll, Zambra; McNally, Dervin (Dobbs, 82), Robinson, Byrne (Davis, 68); Nugent; Williams.
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare).
Waterford 1 Dundalk 1
A crucial equalising goal from second-half substitute Anthony Wordsworth gave Waterford FC a deserved share of the points at the RSC.
Dundalk got off to the perfect start when they broke the deadlock on five minutes when Will Patching’s quick free-kick picked out Daniel Kelly out on the right-side, and after his low cross was deflected off Kyle Ferguson, Sean Murray got the vital touch past goalkeeper Brian Murphy.
Sam Stanton was just over the bar with a decent effort on 21 minutes before Patching had a chance of his own six minutes later when he got on the end of a Stanton left-wing cross, but his well-struck 16-yard effort just cleared Murphy’s crossbar.
Phoenix Patterson went close to equalising six minutes later when he fired in a first-time shot from the top of the penalty area after a Kyle Ferguson knockdown, but his shot flew just wide of the left-hand post.
After Brian Murphy made two brilliant saves to deny Murray and Sami Ben-Amar, it was the Blues that were celebrating the equalising goal on 77 minutes. Shane Griffin sent in a brilliant right-wing delivery that saw Anthony Wordsworth flick a header inside a crowded area past goalkeeper Alessio Alibi.
WATERFORD FC: Murphy, Power, Nolan, Ferguson, Stafford (Milambo 36), O'Keeffe (Halford 73), Griffin, Evans (Wordsworth 46), Martin, Patterson, Kavanagh (Quitirna 62).
DUNDALK FC: Abibi, Dummigan, Cleary, Boyle, Stanton, Sloggett, Patching, Kelly (Hanratty 90), Murray (Animasahun 84), Ben-Amar (Jeongwoo 80), Hoban.
Referee: John McLoughlin (Westmeath).
Drogheda 0 Sligo Rovers 0
Sligo Rovers picked up a first Premier Division point in exactly two months as they and Drogheda United played out a stalemate at an emotional Head In The Game Park.
The title race has faded from their view in recent months as a seven-match losing streak put paid to their hopes in the league, FAI Cup and Europe. But a draw here means the rot has been stopped – for now – ahead of a tough run of fixtures to come.
The visitors enjoyed a brighter opening 45 minutes. Andre Wright went close to a debut goal. The former Bohemians marksman saw his shot deflected wide by Joe Redmond. Robbie McCourt’s shot was comfortable for David Odumosu.
Drogheda – who ended their own wretched run of form with a Louth derby win over Dundalk last time out – mustered very little in comparison.
Goals have been an issue for Sligo of late. They have failed to score in four of their seven-game losing streak. It is hoped Wright will help alleviate some of the pressure on young gun Johnny Kenny. The 18-year-old was left on the bench after his involvement with the Irish Under-19s training camp in Loughborough this week.
That is especially important after they lost seven-goal man Jordan Gibson to Carlisle United this week.
Tim Clancy’s side were improved after half-time. McCourt was required to block Mark Doyle’s first time shot but clear chances remained scarce until O’Reilly rattled the crossbar late on. Clancy himself was red carded in injury time.
Before the game, an emotional tribute was paid to the Drogheda United academy coach David Conroy who tragically passed away in a road traffic accident last month.
DROGHEDA UTD: Odumosu; Brown, Remond, O'Reilly, Kane; Phillips, Heeney, Hyland (Murray, 46); Markey (Clarke, 85), Adeyemo (Obhakhan, 85), Doyle.
SLIGO ROVERS: McGinty; Banks, Buckley, Mahon, McCourt; Morahan, McDonnell (Kenny, 76), Cawley; DeVries (Byrne, 82), Wright (Keogh, 76), Figueira.
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin)