TUNDE OWOLABI has more Premier Division goals than starts this season but sent a timely reminder of his worth by smashing a hat-trick.
Bohs were involved in this game more than the scoreline suggests, but their inability to find a ruthless streak has haunted them all season and they now languish in seventh.
Having finished off Liam Buckley as Sligo Rover manager on Friday, the Gypsies were chasing back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
But despite bossing most of the first-half, they trailed 2-0 at the break as Owolabi showed them how to do what they couldn’t.
Goalkeeper Joseph Anang played his part too, and displayed Spiderman-like agility to keep Bohs at arm’s length.
But this was Owoloabi’s night and he cracked a smile when the boisterous home fans treated him to a standing ovation when he made way with 17 minutes to play.
Once a prolific scorer at FC of Manchester, having smashed 35 goals in 41 appearances during the 2019/2020 season, Owolabi has had to be patient at St Pat’s.
Last year, the Belgian scored a hat-trick against the Saints while at Finn Harps and new Saints boss Tim Clancy snapped him up over the winter.
Yet this was only his third start, but taking his goal haul from one to four in a single night’s work will give his manager food for thought.
Saints were on a mission to make amends after losing here to Shelbourne on Friday and couldn’t have got off to a better start with a lead goal after just five minutes.
Ciaran Kelly misjudged his attempted tackle and Owolabi skipped clear before angling in on goal and unleashing a low daisy-cutter to James Talbot’s far post.
But rather than galvanising the hosts, the lead goal only stirred the Gypsies into action and they came storming back by creating a hatful of chances.
But they met their match in Anang as the on-loan West Ham goalkeeper was in inspired form, right in front of the large travelling support behind his goal.
After Dawson Devoy skewed a back-post volley wide, Anang stepped into the limelight to keep out another - deflected - Devoy effort moments later.
He pulled off a brilliant double save to deny Jordan Flores and Ali Coote in quick succession, not realising the offside flag had gone up.
And approaching the half hour, he made a brilliant triple save to thwart Coote, Kelly and Flores before later clawing a Devoy header from the top corner.
Bohs had thrown the kitchen sink at their hosts but just couldn’t find a way past Anang - and they were made to pay.
After their goal, St Pat’s had spent a good deal of the game trying to keep Bohs at bay with centre-back Joe Redmond’s performance only topped by Anang and Owolabi.
But the Saints got back on track with a strong spell of their own before the break and Eoin Doyle and Owolabi both threatened with close range chances.
But Owolabi - who had been caught offside on four occasions - doubled the lead and his own haul with a second in first-half injury-time.
This time, he did the damage down the left and, after skipping through soft challenges, drilled another low and fierce shot past Talbot.
And in the second-half, Owoloabi picked up from where he left off and could have nailed his hat-trick well before he actually did.
But all that mattered was the spot-kick conversion in the 68th minute when usual penalty taker Doyle, who was tripped by Kelly, handed the honour to Owolabi.
It was his night.
Joseph Anang 8
Joe Redmond 7
Tom Grivosti 7
Ian Bermingham 7
Sam Curtis 7
Adam O’Reilly 7
Chris Forrester 6
Jason McClelland 7
Anto Breslin 7
Eoin Doyle 7
Tunde Owolabi 9
Subs: Mark Doyle (for Forrester72), Kyle Robinson (for Owolabi, 73), Ben McCormack (for E Doyle, 77), Darragh Burns (for McClelland, 84)
Subs not used: David Odumosu, Jack Scott, Billy King, Ben Curtis, Kian Corbally
James Talbot 6
Max Murphy 6
Ciaran Kelly 5
Jordan Doherty 5
Tyreke Wilson 6
Conor Levingston 6
Jordan Flores 6
Ali Coote 6
Dawson Devoy 7
Promise Omochere 6
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 6
Subs: Liam Burt (for Coote, 45), Jamie Mullins (for Levingston, 63), James McManus (for Omochere, 83), Ryan Cassidy (for Flores, 83)
Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan, Rory Feely, James Finnerty, Sam Packham, Cian Byrne,
Referee: Neil Doyle
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