It’s Friday, so it must be time for the Airtricity League.
And we have a doozy of a game tonight as Liam Buckley leads his side up the M1.
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FULL TIME: Drogheda United 0 – 0 St Patrick’s Athletic
18.59 – Good evening folks and welcome to this evening’s liveblog of what promises to be a thrilling clash of the second and third best teams in the country.
St Pat’s can narrow the gap between themselves and Sligo Rovers to just three points with a win tonight, while Drogheda United can overtake the Inchicore side by doing likewise.
19.13 – KICK OFF: And we’re underway. The hosts already look the most enthusiast here and a left-footed cross from Gavin Brennan had the red shirts looking all at sea.
They get away with it, but very encouraging early signs from the Louth-men.
19.20 – Pat’s have most definitely steadied the ship and look much more settled in possession. Christy Fagan is leading the way, cutting in from the right and chipping towards Jake Carroll, but it was comfortably headed clear.
19.27 – And Jake Kelly is looking the most likely to threaten the scoreboard for Pats here. Minutes after a decent dribble on the left, he pops up at the corner of the six-yard-box. There, he met a hooked Greg Bolger cross; but ducked into the header and sent it high over the bar.
He was tightly marked, so not a glaring miss, but a chance.
19.36 – There’s Jake Kelly again. But again, the youngster has failed to hit the target.
Ger O’Brien advanced down the right-hand channel and his low cross to the edge of the area was dreadfully sliced by a United defender. The ball fell to Kelly, who volleyed high over the bar. Another difficult chance to execute.
19.43 – Liam Buckley concerned with United’s “very direct” style causing them problems. but laughed off the suggestion from RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue that it’s a must-win game if they are to win the title. “Look,” he said, “both ourselves and Drogheda obviously want to win.”
19.52 – Not one, but two gilt-edged chances for the hosts after 40 minutes.
Hand’s cross from the left dipped just out of Gavin Brennan’s head and his brother Sean could do no better diving in at the back stick.
19.57 – HALF TIME: Drogheda United 0 – 0 St Patrick’s Athletic
Rovers will be the happiest team after that 45 minutes. We’re still deadlocked in Louth, the half ending with another ‘almost’ for Pat’s as Fagan was a foot away from meeting a knock-down off a corner.
Time for some Bovril before we hit a 45 minute period where both sides will be hell-bent on winning.
20.13 – SECOND HALF: We’re underway and Conor Kenna is replaced by Kenny Browne in the one enforced change for Pat’s. An unfamiliar pairing could make that an area to target for United/
20.23 – Fagan and Kelly have combined again to create an opening, but again Kelly is tightly marked when the cross arrives and it deflects off him and behind for a goal kick.
20.47 – Mick Cooke has just reinforced my point. “Better to have one point than none.” He’s just told RTE.
Music to the ears of Ian Baraclough: if this result stays as it is, Rovers can go eight points clear with a win over Derry tomorrow.
20.55 – A turn and shot from substitute Vinny Faherty has George Hamilton very excited in the commentary box, but Gabriel Sava was always well positioned to claim the ball just above head height.
Three minutes to go of the regulation 90 here and Pats are undoubtedly the side more intent on changing the outcome of the game.
21.05 – FULL TIME: And there you have it, folks. Full time and these sides once again can’t be separated after 90 minutes. It’s as you were in second and third position.
Sligo’s lead at the top of the Airtricity League is down to five points, but it is surely only temporary. Rovers face Derry tomorrow knowing a win will give them an unassailable looking lead of eight points with just four games remaining.
21.10 – United’s Derek Prendergast was awarded man-of-the-match by RTE for his defensive display, and he highlighted the familiarity between the sides as a factor which brought about the stale-mate.
“We’ve played eachother four times this year. I don’t think they’ve scored against us, but they probably had the better chances tonight.”
He added: “One of us probably had to win to put pressure on Sligo, but if they slip up then we have to be there.”
For the chasing pack, it increasingly looks like hope and not much more that the title race is still alive, but Derry City will have their say.
Thanks for joining our little liveblog. We’ll have a round-up of the rest of the night’s Premier Division action coming up very soon.