Report: Rovers 1-0 St Patrick’s Athletic

Sligo Rovers ended our home season in this year’s SSE Airtricity League with a narrow 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night at The Showgrounds.

The win secures a top five finish for Rovers.

John Russell made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Derry City on Monday, with Greg Bolger and Colm Horgan replacing Robbie Burton and Shane Blaney respectively.

The game started with the visitors wasting a good chance for the opening goal. Nando Pijnaker overhit a back pass to Richard Brush and the goalkeeper was chased down by Pats’ striker Eoin Doyle who just couldn’t squeeze the ball home.

The remainder of the half was pretty even with both sides pushing forward as much as possible, the next best chance again probably falling to the away side as Chris Forrester went through one on one with Brush but his effort didn’t have the legs to roll over the line and Lewis Banks cleared.

Kailin Barlow went close for Rovers soon after but it remained scoreless at the break.

Seven minutes into the second half came the game’s biggest talking point. Aidan Keena dribbled into the penalty area and Paddy Barrett closed him down and was adjudged to have fouled the Rovers’ striker and referee John McLaughlin pointed to the spot and gave Rovers a penalty.

Keena picked himself up and blasted the ball high into the net to give The Bit O’ Red the lead.

With Dundalk ahead against Bohemians, St Pat’s knew only a win would do if they were to have any hopes of a top three finish. Tim Clancy pushed everyone forward for the last ten minutes but a combination of strong defending and good goalkeeping from Brush meant that Rovers never really came under a massive threat and saw out the game comfortably enough meaning John Russell’s side are now guaranteed fifth spot in the table.

We play our last game of the season away to Bohemians next Sunday at 7pm at Dalymount Park.