St Patrick’s Athletic 2 Shamrock Rovers 0
Second-half goals by Kevin Toner and Killian Brennan helped St Patrick's Athletic to claim the spoils against 10-man Shamrock Rovers at Richmond Park last night.
Although there was little to separate the sides initially, the 40th-minute dismissal of Rovers defender Joey O’Brien was the shot in the arm that Pat’s needed to secure their sixth Premier Division win of the present campaign.
While Rovers entered this contest on the back of a magnificent 3-0 victory over champions Cork City last Monday, the hosts were looking to bounce back from their five-goal reversal to Dundalk on the same evening.
Marauding Rovers wing-back Sean Kavanagh fired just wide of the target during the early exchanges, before a subsequent free-kick by Conan Byrne marginally drifted over Kevin Horgan's crossbar at the opposite end.
Just when the opening period looked set to reach a tame conclusion, a major flashpoint altered the course of the game. Following a late tackle on Ryan Brennan close to the touchline, former Republic of Ireland international O'Brien was given his marching orders by referee Graham Kelly.
Though the sides remained on level terms at the break, Pat’s ultimately made their numerical advantage count 11 minutes into the second half.
An own goal by Kevin Toner handed Rovers all three points at the Tallaght Stadium in mid-March, but it was the centre half’s header from a Byrne corner that ultimately broke the deadlock on this occasion.
With a seventh league defeat of 2018 now looming large for his side, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley introduced attacking duo Gary Shaw and Brandon Miele for a final-quarter assault on the Pat's goal.
However, after Ronan Finn fouled Thomas Byrne at the end of normal time, Pat's substitute Killian Brennan coolly dispatched a subsequent penalty beyond the reach of Horgan.
ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC: Murphy; Madden, Desmond, Toner, Bermingham; R Brennan (Kelly, 88 mins), Lennon; C Byrne, Markey (K Brennan, 83 mins), Clarke; Keegan (T Byrne, 85 mins).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Horgan; Boyle, Grace, Lopes, O'Brien, Kavanagh; A Bolger (Miele, 75 mins), G Bolger, Finn; Burke, Carr (Shaw, 70 mins).
Referee: G Kelly (Cork).
Bray Wanderers 2 Derry City 1
Ronan Coughlan scored twice to give bottom side Bray Wanderers a rousing win at the Carlisle Grounds as they ended Derry City’s nine-match unbeaten run.
With Martin Russell, set to be officially unveiled as manager next week, again watching from the dugout, Bray deservedly got their second win of the season to move to within six points of ninth-placed Limerick.
Cory Galvin forcing Derry goalkeeper Ger Doherty to tip over a cross two minutes in set the tone for Bray to have much the better of a dour first half.
The only clearcut opportunity of the first period fell their way after six minutes.
Central defender Seán Heaney, arriving unmarked at the back post from Kevin Lynch’s corner, contrived to slice his shot back across the area with the goal gaping.
It took the sluggish visitors 31 minutes to register their first attempt on goal. Even at that it came from a speculative long-range shot by central defender Darren Cole that was off target.
Though Derry showed more impetus from the restart, they fell behind right on 60 minutes.
Paul O’Conor’s flick from a Kevin Lynch corner was deflected out for a second one.
Skipper Gary McCabe whipped this one in for Coughlan to head home at the near post.
It was a lead that lasted just three minutes.
Conor McDermott did well on the right to cut across and pick out Nicky Low who drilled a crisp shot into the bottom corner.
Bray kept playing and were rewarded with the winner on 73 minutes.
The lively McCabe dribbled past several defenders to lay the ball off to Dan McKenna.
His chip found Coughlan who controlled the ball before shooting low to the net off his right foot.
Bray then defended doggedly to the death. Rhys Gorman cleared off the line from John Cofie on 84 minutes before goal keeper Evan Moran saved a drive from fellow substitute Ronan Curtis right on the whistle.
BRAY WANDERERS: Moran; Douglas, Kenna, Heaney, Lynch; Gorman, O'Conor; Kelly (McGovern, 77 mins), McCabe, Galvin (McKenna, 68 mins); Coughlan (Pender, 90 mins).
DERRY CITY: G. Doherty; McDermott, Peers, Cole, Doyle; Rory Hale; McEneff, Low; Ronan Hale (Curtis, 65 mins), Patterson (Cofie, 77 mins), McDonagh (B Doherty, 65 mins).
Referee: John McLoughlin (Roscommon).