By Killian McHale

Shamrock Rovers left it late to pick up their sixth win in a row against St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday night courtesy of an 89th-minute penalty from Richie Towell in front of the 6,212 fans in attendance – a record Monday night attendance in Tallaght.

Coming into this game on the back of a convincing 3-0 win away to UCD last Friday, Rovers boss Stephen Bradley made six changes to his starting eleven, with Lee Grace, Gary O’Neill, Richie Towell, Neil Farrugia, Jack Byrne, and Rory Gaffney all coming back into the side for the latest Dublin Derby.

It took a while for both sides to really get going, with the first half-chance of the game falling to Pats winger Jason McClelland, only for his shot to be well blocked by Roberto Lopes inside the Rovers 18-yard box after 19 minutes.

The opening goal fell to the visitors in the 27th minute, when Mark Doyle received the ball on the edge of the Rovers box before his low-drilled effort deflected off Roberto Lopes and fired in off Leon Pohls’ left-hand post to give the Inchicore side the lead.

It took Rovers until the first minute of injury time of the first half to test Dean Lyness in the Pat’s goal, when he did well to steer Graham Burke’s goal-bound effort over his crossbar.

And from the resulting corner, Rovers found the equaliser. Jack Byrne’s dangerous delivery fell perfectly onto the head of Lee Grace who headed home from six yards to send the sides into the break level – Lee’s third of the season already.

Both sides continued to share possession in the opening period of the second half, with neither side able to carve out any clear-cut chances.

The first real chance of the half came after 69 minutes, and Rovers made it count when Richie Towell gave the Hoops the lead. A well-worked team move saw Ronan Finn clip a perfectly weighted ball onto the head of the on-rushing Towell whose diving header gave Rovers the lead for the first time in the game.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, the visitors would hit the Hoops with what looked to be a sucker punch for the second time this season. A long-range Sam Curtis shot was parried by Leon Pohls into the path of substitute Ben McCormack who fired home at the back post to give the visitors what looked like an important point on the road.

There was still time for another dramatic twist however as a Richie Towell strike from the edge of the box was pushed back out by Lyness into the path of Johnny Kenny. As the striker was about to pull the trigger he was bundled over by Tom Grivosti, before Jak Byrne curled the loose ball into the bottom corner. However, the referee on the night Damien McGrath had already pointed to the penalty spot before Byrne had taken his shot. Up stepped Richie Towell as he fired into the bottom left corner to give Rovers all three points in a hugely entertaining Dublin Derby in Tallaght.

Rovers welcome Drogheda United to Tallaght this coming Friday in our latest SSE Airtricity League Premier Division league clash, with kick-off set for 8 pm.

Shamrock Rovers: Pohls; Cleary, Lopes, Grace; Finn © (80’ Kavanagh), O’Neill, Towell, Farrugia; Byrne, Burke (80’ Poom), Gaffney (80’ Kenny).

Shamrock Rovers Unused Substitutes: Toms Leitis (GK), Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Aaron Greene, Darragh Nugent, Conan Noonan.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Lyness; Curtis, Grivosti, McGrath (90’ Lonergan), Breslin; Murphy (74’ McCormack), Lennon, Forrester ©; McClellend (66’ Atakayi), E.Doyle (74’ Carty), M.Doyle (66’ Mulraney).

St. Patrick’s Athletic Unused Substitutes: David Odumosu (GK), Noah Lewis, Axel Sjoeberg, Thijs Timmersmans.

Attendance: 6,212.