St Pat’s keep fighting the good fight

Win over Bray lifts Pat’s out of the bottom three

Christy Fagan celebrates scoring St Pat’s second goal. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Christy Fagan celebrates scoring St Pat’s second goal. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

St Patrick’s Athletic 3 Bray Wanderers 1

Conan Byrne provided a goal and an assist as St Patrick’s Athletic came from behind for the second week running to earn a stirring win in their battle to avoid relegation.

And as was the case last week, the victory lifts Liam Buckley’s side out of the bottom three, overnight at least.

Buoyed by that first win in nine games last time out against Derry City, St Pat’s showed plenty of purpose early on, coming close to an eighth minute lead.

Bray keeper Peter Cherrie came to clear a long ball only for St Pat’s strike Christy Fagan to get there first and set up Billy Dennehy whose chip cleared the retreating Cherrie, but also the crossbar.

Graham Kelly, their match winner last week, and Fagan, twice, had chances before Bray’s passing game brought them into the game, a moment of genius bringing them a 37th minute lead against the run of play.

St Pat’s Killian Brennan was booked for a foul on Gary McCabe, who duly got up to send his direct free kick to the net in off the underside of the crossbar for a magnificent 14th goal of the season.

Cherrie rescued Bray within a minute of the restart with a point-blank save to deprive Dennehy. But the resulting pressure from a fifth corner inside the opening six minutes of the second half brought its reward with an equaliser.

Dennehy swept the ball in from the right and Byrne rose to plant a downward header to the net.

Byrne then had a goal ruled out for offside before being central to Pat’s taking the lead on 57 minutes. Sent clear by Brennan’s pass, Byrne kept the ball in play before crossing low for Fagan to drill a first time shot to the bottom corner.

Substitute Josh O’Hanlon put the gloss on the win with St Pat’s third goal in stoppage time, finishing calmly after Dennehy worked the opening.

St Patrick’s Athletic: O’Malley; Barker, Balk, Desmond, Bermingham; Brennan (Feely, 90+3); C. Byrne, K. Byrne (Lunney, 76), Kelly, B. Dennehy; Fagan (J O’Hanlon, 86).

Bray Wanderers: Cherrie; Buckley, Douglas, Kenna, Lynch (Pender, h-t); Sullivan (Noone, 60), Salmon; Brennan, McCabe, Marks (Moore, 73); Greene.

Referee: Neil Double (Dublin).

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