Forrester goal gives Pat’s bragging rights over Rovers
Chris Forrester was the match winner at Richmond Park last night as St Patrick’s Athletic signalled a statement of intent with a 1-0 victory against holders Shamrock Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
A top-flight champion with the Saints during his first spell at the club in 2013, Forrester’s 55th-minute goal secured all three points for Tim Clancy’s side.
Without a win over their Dublin rivals since May 2018, this success reignites their title challenge following the disappointment of back-to-back defeats against Sligo Rovers and Bohemians.
Rovers had bounced back from an earlier reversal to Derry City by overcoming Drogheda United last Monday, but it wasn’t to be for Stephen Bradley’s men in this game.
While they won’t be pushing the panic button just yet, this was their second loss in just four games this season – an unusual statistic for a team that has been so consistent in recent years.
Under the watchful eye of their former manager and current Republic of Ireland senior boss Stephen Kenny, Rovers were keen to test the resolve of Saints netminder Joseph Anang.
On loan from West Ham United, the Ghana-born custodian turned away efforts from Rory Gaffney, Jack Byrne and Ronan Finn to keep his side in the frame.
Mark Doyle and Darragh Burns also went close for the hosts, but the deadlock ultimately remained unbroken at the interval.
Although Byrne was an influential presence in the final-third for the Hoops, the same was true of Forrester in the Pat’s team.
Ten minutes into the second period, the former Peterborough United midfielder rose high from a Burns corner to head beyond the reach of Rovers goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
This heaped pressure on the visitors, who responded by introducing Graham Burke, Barry Cotter, Aaron Greene and Sean Gannon off the bench.
The depth of the Hoops squad has come to their rescue in the past, but the tension was significantly heightened on this occasion.
Even though both Andy Lyons and Gaffney went close before being withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining, St Pat’s held firm to earn the spoils.