- Monday February 24th, 2014 @ 22:03
FORRESTER GOAL SEALS WIN
St Pat's have the advantage following their first leg of the Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final match against Ballinamallard United thanks to Chris Forrester netting the only goal of the game.
Following a throw-in from Ger O'Brien, Saints' midfielder Keith Fahey smartly let the ball come across his body as he turned the opposition defence. Fahey's neat pass into the six yard box found Forrester and the Republic of Ireland U21 international finished smartly into the net past Ballinamallard keeper Stefan McCusker on 21 minutes.
The Saints dominated the opening half of the game as Ballinamallard struggled to cope with the Inchicore side's passing and movement. It was Forrester again who threatened to extend the Saints' lead further as he climbed highest to head Conan Byrne's corner wide.
2013 PFAI Player of the Year Killian Brennan went close to extending the Saints' lead at the start of the second half as his free from the right was punched away by McCusker.
Forrester found the net once more midway through the second half, how the midfielder was ruled offside after pouncing on a loose ball that Saints' striker Christy Fagan did well to chase down - a decision which perhaps was harsh on the midfielder due a deflection off a Mallards' defender.
However from that moment on, the home side fought back as they coped with the heavy Ferney Park pitch much better.
On 70 minutes a free from substitute Cathal Beacom found the head of David Kee but the midfielder's diving header was tipped well wide by Saints' keeper Rene Gilmartin.
The Mallards had two further chances in the final stages of the game. Saints' defender Kenny Browne struggled to clear the ball in the muddy conditions as Mallards' striker Andy Crawford pounced on the loose ball, but his snap shot was saved by the outstretched foot of Gilmartin.
With two minutes left on the clock, Beacom got another chance to show his set-piece skills, however 25 yards from goal, his shot failed to curl sufficiently around the Dubliners' wall and the shot drifted wide of the post.
Christy Fagan had the final chance of the game as he pounced on a fumble by McCusker, but his shot was deflected wide by Steve Feeney.
The referee however blew the whistle for full-time shortly after to confirm the Saints now head into the second leg of this Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final with a one goal lead.
Ballinamallard Utd: McCusker; Crilly, Stafford (c), Feeney, McCartney, Hutchinson (C. Beacom 66), Kee, McManus (Currie 81), Campbell, Martin; Lecky (Crawford 70).
St Patrick's Ath: Gilmartin; O'Brien (c), Browne, Oman, Bermingham; Byrne, Fahey (Lynch 81), Brennan (Chambers 86), Bolger, Forrester (Kavanagh 81); Fagan
Subs Not Used: Clarke, Hoare, McCormack, Foran.
Setanta Sports Cup Man of the Match: Greg Bolger