The Saints slipped up in their title push as they lost to the Lilywhites after Killian Brennan's first-half sending off
Dundalk's win away at Drogheda United might have given them a brief confidence boost, but it was the Saints who enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening few minutes with their midfielders Shane McFaul and Greg Bolger linking well in the centre. Dundalk nearly made the first breakthrough qw Patrick Hoban found space and turned quickly but his fierce shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.
Nothing came as as result of the corner and Pat's begin to regain control of the game as Killian Brennan began to shine, repeatedly whipping pinpoint crosses into the box. Despite this, Dundalk's defence kept their composure and Peter Cherrie was barely troubled.
The first clear-cut chance fell to Chris Forrester who found a yard of space just outside the box after some clever close-control, and placed a well directed shot towards the left bottom corner but Cherrie got down well and was equal to it.
As the games tempo increased so too did the aggression of the players, forcing referee Anthony Buttimer into action. An overzealous challenge from Killian Brennan on Darren Meenan was deemed a red-card offence and Brennan was given his marching orders.
For the remaining 12 minutes of the half Pat's got every player behind the ball to keep the game level going into half-time.
Liam Buckely's players returned to the pitch more assured and relaxed. Pat's midfield continued to work tirelessly with Bolger in the centre dictating the play.
In the 58th minute Pats were awarded a free just outside the box for a silly foul but Conan Byrne's effort went narrowly wide. The resulting goal kick the ball was played long and Dundalk seeking an opening pushed forward. Poor awareness from Dundalk caused the ball to break to Greg Bolger who picked out the run of Conan Byrne delightfully. Byrne then squared it to Christy Fagan who calmly put the ball away.
The goal spurred Dundalk into action and the equalised just over 10 minutes later. Dane Massey found Kurtis Byrne who smartly turned the defender and drove the ball in for the equalizer at the near post.
Dundalk kept up the pressure for a winner and came close when Stephen McDonnell's whistling shot went narrowly wide. Yet another key talking point arrived in the 76th minute when a needless shove by Browne on Ward saw the hosts awarded a penalty. However, the Lilwhites failed to capitalise as Kurtis Byrne's penalty was weak and Clarke calmly collected.
The penalty miss didn't halt the home side as they kept pushing for a winner. It duly arrived on the 83rd minute from a well-worked free-kick from 30-40 yards out. Richie Towell feigned a shot and spread the ball wide to John Sullivan whose cross-cum-shot found the back of the net. There was a nervy finish with six additional minutes but Dundalk held on for the three points.
Dundalk's win sees them move to within six points of the summit, putting the pressure on Pat's as the teams go into the mid-season break.