BALLINAMALLARD 0 ST PAT’S ATH 1
League of Ireland champions St Patrick’s Athletic came away with a narrow 1-0 victory at Ferney Park.
But for most of the game they were well in control after Chris Forrester shot the Dublin side into the lead after 21 minutes, side-footing home a corner. He went close again shortly after heading just wide from another corner.
St Patrick’s controlled most of the half in atrocious conditions with the home side posing little or no threat.
Moments before the break though midfielder Duwayne McManus found himself in space in the St Pat’s box, but couldn’t manger to pull the trigger before being tackled.
It was an encouraging second half from the Irish League side against the Airtricity champions and they finished strongly with a handful of good chances to show for their efforts.
Substitute Cathal Beacom’s vicious free kick from wide on the right flew inches wide as David Kee just failed to get a touch with his head at the back post.
Striker Andy Crawford then pressurised the visitors’ defence in the mud. The ball fell nicely for the Ballinamallard man, who found himself clear on goal, but his low shot was superbly knocked away by keeper Rene Gilmartin with his lets.
At the death they survived a real scare when the dangerous Chris Fagan found himself through on goal, but stand-in keeper Stefan McCusker did well to race from his line and flick the ball wide.
Ballinamallard United: McCusker, Stafford, Kee, Hutchinson (Beacom), Lecky (Crawford), McCartney, Feeney, McManus (Currie), Campbell, Martin, Crilly. Subs: Courtney, Hill, McMenamin
St Patrick’s Athletic: Gilmartin, O’Brien, Oman, Browne, Byrne, Fagan, Fahey (Kavanagh), Brennan (Chambers), Forrester (Lynch), Bolger. Subs: Clarke, Hoare, McCormack, Foran.
Referee: Mark Courtney