MONAGHAN UNITED STRUGGLE AS ST PATRICK’S CONTINUE TO SOAR

8 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

St Patrick’s Ath. 4
Monaghan Utd 0
CILLIAN O’DOWD
reports from Gortakeegan

St Patrick’s Athletic narrowed the gap on Sligo Rovers at the top of theAirtricity League Premier Division with this convincing, and ultimately emphatic, win over basement side Monaghan United at Gortakeegan on Friday evening.

Three goals in the last ten minutes put a gloss on the scoreline for theSaints, but any outcome other than a win for the visitors would have been a misrepresentation of the balance of the game.

United, whose form had picked up recently and reached a high in theirelimination of Sligo Rovers from the FAI Cup, were brought back down to earth and given a refreshercourse in the challenges they face in order to challenge a presence for themselves in the top tier.

Organisationally they were competent enough and matched the Saints in sheer lung-power and commitment, but their lack of a predatory goalscorer, one who can convert the limited number of chances they are contriving to manufacture against the top sides, once morestood out as a glaring deficit in their make-up.

Former Monaghan United recruit Darren Meenan wasted an early chance forthe visitors in this one as St Pat’s got some early joy on the flanks, stretching the United defensivecover to good effect to produce Meenan’s opportunity and one that was perhaps even more gilt-edged for Christy Fagan, who found himself clean through on goal with only keeper Chris Bennion to beat after twenty minutes.

Fagan had the option of taking the ball around the exposed net-minder but instead tried to scoop a shot beyond him and Bennion was able to get a save on the rather indecisive attempt.

Fagan atoned, however, when John Russell’s perfectly timed ball from a wide position picked him out in the box, and on this occasion his finish was measured and accomplished to put the Saints in the driving seat.

Fagan looked set to put the Saints in seventh heaven just before half-time with an emphatic header that had some of the visiting fans already cheering before Bennion executed a memorable …

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