St. Patrick's Athletic have it all to do in the second leg of their Europa League qualifier after falling to a 2-0 defeat at home to Swedish side IFK Norrkoping last night. While Saints battled hard throughout, a second half strike from Simon Thern
St. Patrick's Athletic have it all to do in the second leg of their Europa League qualifier after falling to a 2-0 defeat at home to Swedish side IFK Norrkoping last night.
While Saints battled hard throughout, a second half strike from Simon Thern and a late Lee Desmond own goal appear to have put the tie to bed.
Afterwards, Pat's boss Harry Kenny felt it could have been different if his side had been rewarded a fairly blatant penalty in the first half when Gary Shaw was nudged over in the box by Alexander Fransson.
When asked if he thought the penalty should have been given, Kenny was in no doubt, responding: "Definitely. The defender misread the ball, Shawsy got in behind him and he gave him a nudge in the back. I couldn't believe that he didn't give it. It possibly could have changed the course of the game and given everyone a lift. That's football."
Despite the disappointment, Kenny was pleased with his team's work rate, adding: "I'm delighted with the lads' performance and effort. We gave the ball away for the first goal and we really can't do that against a team of that calibre. The second goal was disappointing because 1-0 still gives you a great chance in the tie."
Considering that Norrkoping started with nine full internationals on the pitch, Kenny felt that Pats' performance can be used as encouragement heading into the closing stages of the season.
"We have to build on that. We were in reasonable form coming into the game, we'd won three out of the last four. They're very good opposition and with all the international players that they have, it was always going to be a difficult tie."
When it comes to staying in Europe, it's the result that really matters and it seems it would take a remarkable result in Sweden next week for Pat's to do so.
That said, Kenny was quick to point to the spirit of his dressing room, suggesting they won't be going down without a fight.
"I was hoping to get a better result at home to give us a chance in the second leg. We won't give up by any means, there are good lads down there who love this club and will die for it. They'll give everything they have in the second leg."
The return leg takes place in Sweden next Thursday night.