Dave Donnelly reports from Richmond Park
St Patrick's Athletic fell to a fifth successive defeat as Sligo Rovers produced a clinical counter-attacking performance at Richmond Park.
Goals from Patrick McClean, Ally Roy and Jack Keaney saw the Bit o' Red to victory in a game in which they absorbed a lot of pressure without ever looking particularly uncomfortable.
The Saints could point that what appeared a clear shove on Ryan Brennan in the build-up to the second, which would have seen them given an opportunity to level from the spot.
But, in truth, this was a game in which the Saints were outworked and outhustled by a side who, in stark contrast to them, took every opportunity they were presented.
Pats began the game the brighter and threatened early when Darragh Markey pulled a cross just behind the arriving Jake Keegan.
Sligo's first attack of the game produced the opening goal, however, Lewis Morrison turning the second ball across goal and Patrick McClean extended his leg to hook home an excellent finish.
The visitors gave indication of how they meant to continue as Caolan McAleer dispossessed Dean Clarke deep in his own half and countered with lightning precision.
Roy scuffed the finish, but the lesson wasn't heeded as, just before the half hour, the same player was on the end of another of those scintillating counters.
There was more than a hint of controversy about it as Ryan Brennan looked to be shoved in the back inside the Sligo box by Seamus Sharkey.
Referee Derek Tomney – a last-minute replacement for Tom Connolly – had a great view but let play continue, and within seconds the Bit o' Red had the ball in the net.
Rhys McCabe picked out Roy and the Scot played a quick one-two with Adam Wixted and bent a beautiful shot around Barry Murphy in the Saints goal.
Pats had been marginally the more industrious side with the ball but struggled to break down a determined and efficient Sligo side, who slowed the game down considerably after the break.
Still, Pats will wonder how they weren't able to get themselves back into the game as they monopolised the football and did cause Sligo some trouble with set pieces.
Simon Madden saw his shot well-blocked by David Cawley just after the break, and Keegan was sure he'd scored following a mistake by Mitchell Beeney but John Mahon's block was superb.
And Ryan Brennan thought he'd poked home a shot to bring the deficit back to one but substitute Keaney somehow managed to turn his shot wide.
The same player sealed the win eight minutes from the end as Michael Barker and Lee Desmond ran into each other and the teenager strode in before calmly slotting the ball under Murphy.
St Patrick's Athletic: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Lee Desmond, Michael Barker, Ian Bermingham; Jamie Lennon (Killian Brennan 79), Ryan Brennan, Darragh Markey; Conan Byrne, Dean Clarke, Jake Keegan.
Subs not used: Tyson Farago (gk), Joe Manley, Paul Cleary, Neill Byrne, Ian Turner, James Doona.
Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Seamus Sharkey (Raffaele Cretaro 66), John Mahon, Patrick McClean, Regan Donelon; Rhys McCabe, Adam Wixted, David Cawley; Caolan McAleer (Adam Morgan 84), Ally Roy, Lewis Morrison (Jack Keaney 63).
Subs not used: Edward McGinty (gk), Liam Kerrigan, Darren Collins, Jack Keaney, Raffaele Cretaro, Greg Moorhouse, Adam Morgan.
Booked: John Mahon (36).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Attendance: 1,003 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ally Roy (Sligo Rovers).