Galway United 1
St Patrick’s Ath. 1
Patrick Flaherty at Richmond Park
IT was a game billed as a relegation scrap, the bottom two sides both without a win in their last seven games fighting it out for a crucial three points, in a match where a point in all honesty was of little gain to either side in the fight for survival.
When you put it that way, the draw sadly was probably a forgone conclusion as the side with the worst away form in the league travelled to take on a team with the worst home record this season, resulting in United producing their eighth 1-1 draw of the season.
It was a tie which lacked the intensity of a must-win game and saw the home team put in a very lacklustre performance, failing to really be much of a threat. In contrast, United were much more vibrant with Ronan Murray and Vinny Faherty threatening.
But it’s goals which win games and United just aren’t hitting the net enough this season, and despite dominating much of the contest they were lucky to even leave with a point when a Conan Byrne effort was deflected into the net, but United stalwart Padraic Cunningham stepped up late on to bail his side out and earn them a point.
Shane Keegan has been a creature of habit in terms of formation this season, however the Laois man was willing to try something different in Richmond Park in the hope of finally getting the best out of his attackers, changing to the more balanced line up, 4-3-3.
Before the attack had any chance to influence the game, United should have really have fallen behind from a Conan Byrne effort, when his fellow winger Josh O’Hanlon found him unmarked in the box but his header was luckily hit right into the arms of Conor Winn.
After a shaky start, the formation change seemed to be having the desired effect, the three front men linking up beautifully and creating chance after chance particularly through crossfield balls from Kevin Devaney to Ronan Murray, with the Mayo native being denied three times in the opening 25 minutes by fellow county man Conor O’Malley.
Even the veteran striker Vinny Faherty was relishing his role in the new formation, coming much deeper then usual and making more tackles, his work rate resulting in him turning over possession on three occasions, kick-starting attacks from the middle and even finding Murray with a wonderful long ball into the corner at one stage.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.