St Pat’s battle hard to leave Drogheda staring at relegation

Goals from Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan were enough to move Pat’s closer to Europe

Conan Byrne slots home St Pat’s second goal to give Liam Buckley’s side all three points. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

Conan Byrne slots home St Pat’s second goal to give Liam Buckley’s side all three points. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Drogheda United 1

Conan Byrne and Christy Fagan eventually found a way past the inspired Micheal Schlingermann to leave St Patrick’s a point away from qualification for next season’s Europa League.

In fact, should Bohemians not win at Sligo Rovers tonight, Liam Buckley’s side will have secured fourth place and Europe for a sixth successive season.

They had to bide their time last night, however, as Drogheda keeper Schlingermann was unbeatable in the first half with two terrific saves.

A handball just out side the area by defender Alan Byrne presented Killian Brennan with a free kick opportunity for the first on 24 minutes.

Schlingermann was equal to the effort, diving to his left to spectacularly push the shot away with one hand.

The Drogheda keeper was there again with an equally acrobatic stop 11 minutes later.

Jamie McGrath met Aaron Greene’s diagonal ball from the left with diving header. Schlingermann again reacted superbly, showing his agility to tip the close-range effort over the top.

But Schlingermann was finally beaten eight minutes after the interval when sent the wrong way from the penalty spot as St Pat’s took a deserved lead.

A rash challenge by Robert Bayly hauled down Fagan as he latched onto James Chambers’ through ball. Byrne score emphatically from 12 yards.

Drogheda responded to level within eight minutes. Keith Treacy’s free kick was nodded back across goal by skipper Mick Daly for Alan Byrne to head home.

Back at the other end, Byrne flashed a header wide and McGrath shot straight at Schlingermann before St. Pat’s restored their lead on 67 minutes.

Ian Morris put Fagan in behind and he ran on to drill a left foot shot to the far corner.

St Patrick’s Athletic: O’Malley; Desmond, McEleney, Brennan, Bermingham; Chambers; Greene (Verdon, 88), Morris; Byrne, Fagan, McGrath.

Drogheda United: Schlingermann; Daly, Byrne. O’Reilly, Gorman; Bayly (Mulvenna, 88); Treacy, Thornton, Hughes (Brennan, 78), Marks; Duffy (McKenna, 63).

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).

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