Report: Rovers 0-2 St. Patrick’s Athletic

Sligo Rovers suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hand of St. Patrick’s Athletic at The Showgrounds on Friday night.

Manager John Russell came into the game without the services of striker Max Mata who departed the club on Thursday following his transfer to Shrewsbury Town. Mata was replaced in the starting eleven by Pedro Martelo who made his first start for the club up front.

Frank Liivak and Garry Buckley, returning to The Showgrounds for the first time since his injury, replaced David Cawley and John Mahon respectively in the team that drew 2-2 with Drogheda United last week. Mahon departed that game at half-time due to illness and hadn’t quite recovered. Pedro Martelo made his first start in attack.

The away side came into the game in good League form, just four points off leaders Shamrock Rovers and they narrowed that gap with three points thanks to goals from Chris Forrester who converted a penalty after Buckley took Mark Doyle down in the box and Sam Curtis after Jake Mulraney’s free-kick wasn’t dealt with in the Rovers’ box.

It didn’t tell the whole story was Rovers had some good play throughout the night but just didn’t create enough chances of note to make a mark on the game.

Stefan Radosavljevic went close from long range before Pedro Martelo’s header was saved by Dean Lyness in the Pats’ goal. Moments later was Rovers’ best chance when Martelo couldn’t keep his effort down from around 12 yards.

Mulraney was in the thick of it again but he couldn’t convert from close range after good work down the left from Doyle.

The second half was much like the first with Rovers having good possesion throughout the half but the visitors always looking threatening on the counter attack.

Conor Carty should have scored after Jake Mulraney hit the post and the ball rebounded to the striker who shot wide.

Fabrice Hartmann came on for the last half hour and he immediately looked a threat on the right hand side, running at the Saints back four at every opportunity.

He came close with ten minutes remaining with a curling effort which looked destined for the top corner but Lyness made a good save.

David Cawley and Karl O’ Sullivan were also brought on for Rovers in place of Frank Liivak and Lukas Browning as John Russell tried to get his side back into the game.

Chris Forrester hit the bar from distance as the game ticked toward 90 minutes but Rovers had their best chance of the night one minute into added time.

David Cawley’s shot from inside the area hit the arm of a Pats’ defender and Rob Harvey pointed to the spot.

Cawley grabbed the ball but sent his penalty wide of the right post and the visitors held on to secure the win.

Next up for Rovers is a trip to Oriel Park to place Dundalk next Friday night.