- Monday May 3rd, 2021 @ 21:11
Report: Sligo 1-1 Saints (03/05/21)
St Patrick's Athletic's unbeaten start to the season remains intact after a dramatic 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers on Monday evening.
Captain fantastic Ian Bermingham was the hero in the 95th minute when he headed home a Darragh Burns' corner in what was the final play of the game to recuse a draw for his side after Jordan Gibson had put Sligo ahead from the penalty spot.
There were three changes from Friday's victory over Longford with John Mountney, Ian Bermingham and Ronan Coughlan replacing Darragh Burns, Shane Griffin and Alfie Lewis in the starting line-up.
Two minutes in, and it was the home side who had the first chance of the game.
Gibson did well to tee Greg Bolger up as he was arriving into the box, but his left footed shot glanced just over Viteslav Jaros' crossbar.
Five minutes later and at the other end, the Saints went extremely close twice in the space of a minute.
Firstly, Billy King delivered a terrific cross, but Ian Bermingham was unable to direct his diving header away from Ed McGinty, who saved comfortably.
Moments later, Chris Forrester played a super ball in behind the Sligo defence, Ronan Coughlan did get onto the end of it, but he was unable to poke the ball home, with McGinty getting a touch again, before gathering.
It really was end to end stuff and when Bolger found Romeu Parkes one on one with Jaros, Parkes looked certain to score, but he was unable to control the pass as it slid away from the Sligo striker and away from the danger area.
Paddy Barrett almost put the Saints ahead after 28 minutes. Billy King broke down the right at pace and was fouled. Forrester delivered the subsequent free kick and Barrett rose highest in the area, beating McGinty but was unable to beat the crossbar as his powerful header crashed off the woodwork and over.
Chances were scarce for the remainder of the half after a hectic opening 30 minutes and as referee Neil Doyle ended an entertaining half, both sides had created plenty of chances, but neither was able to nudge themselves in front.
The start of the second half was just as hectic as the first, and three minutes into it, the home side took the lead.
Gibson did terrifically to beat two Saints defenders and as he raced into the penalty area, referee and Doyle adjudged Barrett to have fouled the ex St Pat's winger and pointed to the penalty spot.
Gibson took the resulting penalty and slotted it into the bottom left corner to open the scoring.
With St Pat's chasing the game, they did create some chances, but were unable to break the packed Sligo defence down.
Lee Desmond went close with a glancing header which was straight at McGinty, and Bermingham also had a driven shot blocked which looked as if it was heading for the target.
As the Saints piled on the pressure, Desmond went close again after 76 minutes. Forrester delivered a corner into a packed penalty box. However, Desmond was unable to direct his header goal bound as it glanced just wide.
Moments later, Coughlan almost levelled, when his glancing header looked as if it had beaten McGinty, but the latter did well to save acrobatically.
With nine minutes remaining, sub Johnny Kenny raced through one on one with Jaros and he had a chance to put the game to bed, but his right footed shot dribbled just wide of the post.
As the clock ticked on, it looked as if it would be Sligo's night as periods of intense pressure from the Inchicore men failed to create a finishing product.
However, The Saints did not give in and equalised in the most dramatic of styles with the the last kick of the game.
Every player piled into the penalty area, including Jaros, Darragh Burns delivered a dangerous corner, and it was the Ian Bermingham whose header sailed by McGinty to rescue a draw for his side and ensure that St Pat's took a well-deserved point back to Inchicore and kept their unbeaten record intact.
Next up is a huge Dublin derby game as the Saints welcome Shamrock Rovers to Richmond next Saturday evening, with a kick-off time of 6pm.
St Patrick's Athletic: Jaros; Mountney, Barrett (McCormack, 80) Desmond, Bone (Burns, 55), Bermingham; Lennon (Lewis, 68), Forrester; King, Coughlan, Smith.
Subs not used: Murphy, Griffin, Norris, Corbally, Melvin-Lambert.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Colm Horgan, John Mahon, Gary Buckley, Robert McCourt; Greg Bolger, Jordan Gibson, Niall Morahan (Shane Blaney, 92) Mark Byrne (Lewis Banks,79), Walter Figueira (David Cawley, 92) Romeo Parkes (Johnny Kenny, 79).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Ryan DeVries, Regan Donelon, Darren Collins, Scott Lynch.
Referee: Neil Doyle.
Photo credit: Sportsfile
Match Report by Eoin Rosney