Chapman strike earns Rovers the points

Sligo Rovers 1 – 0 St Patrick’s Athletic

Ellis Chapman’s 23rd minute strike gave Sligo Rovers a much needed shot in the arm as they saw off St Patrick’s Athletic at the Showgrounds.

Chapman’s strike from range, handed the Bt O’Red their first win in seven and moved the Connacht men to within a single point of their opponents in the league table.

Without a host of first team players courtesy of injuries and suspension, Sligo boss John Russell handed 18-year-old Conor Reynolds a first senior start in place of the suspended JR Wilson, while Fabrice Hartmann returned to the first eleven for the first time in three games.

The starting Saints, looking for a fourth win on the spin over their opponents, included Kieran Freeman, Jamie Lennon and Jake Mulraney each of whom missed Friday’s win over Drogheda.
Rovers led this game at the interval and although they impressed at times, it was the Dubliners who fashioned the majority of the play in front of goal.

John Daly’s charges should have been ahead on nine minutes when Chris Forrester and Brandon Kavanagh combined to find former Sligo youth Ruairi Keating. The striker, unmarked, fluffed his lines from a goal-scoring position as he somehow blazed over from ten yards out.

Conor Keeley’s header from a Kavanagh free landed on the roof of the Rovers net on the quarter hour as Pat’s issued another warning shot, Mulraney in particular causing concern down their left flank.

Chapman then fired the home side in front on 23 minutes when the midfielder struck for his fourth goal of the year. The former Cheltenham man steadying himself before lashing past Danny Rogers from 25 yards, somewhat against the flow of proceedings.

Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty had to bat away an effort from the angle from Keating early in the second period, as Russell’s side looked to map a way to their first win over Pat’s since last year’s May Bank Holiday.

McGinty was in the thick of things again on 61 minutes when he executed a magnificent reaction save to deny Forrester’s stab at goal from a swerving Kavanagh set piece.

The home support thought they had a penalty on 71 when substitute Rein Smit went to ground following a challenge by Pat’s net minder Rogers. Referee David Dunne translated the situation differently however, awarding a free out and booking the Dutch striker for simulation.  

Connor Malley’s drive from 30 yards whistled over the Dubliners’ crossbar with twelve to go as Rovers, now the better side, sought to kill the game.
There was a late push from the visitors, who looked unconvincing going forward although Rovers did have to rely on a heroic late block from skipper Niall Morahan on Pat’s sub Mason Melia.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Conor Reynolds (Kailin Barlow 68), Charlie Wiggett, Ollie Denham, Reece Hutchinson; Niall Morahan, Ellis Chapman, Connor Malley; Fabrice Hartmann (Owen Elding 57), Stefan Radosavljevic (Wilson Waweru 84); Max Mata (Rein Smit 68).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers; Kieran Freeman, Conor Keeley, Luke Turner, Anto Breslin; Jamie Lennon; Chris Forrester, Brandon Kavanagh (Romal Palmer 68); Jake Mulraney (Kian Leavy 73), Alex Nolan (Mason Melia 68), Ruairi Keating.  

Referee: David Dunne

Attendance: 2,548.