The time for United to deliver is now

Lee Grace of Galway United in action against David McMillan of Dundalk  at Oriel Park,

Lee Grace of Galway United in action against David McMillan of Dundalk at Oriel Park,

A critical encounter in Galway United's SSE Airtricity League premier division campaign takes place at Richmond Park tomorrow against St Patrick's Athletic (7.45pm ).

The bottom two in the standings collide in this match which will have an impact for United, having lost five of their last six matches in the top flight.

The manner of last weekend's losses against Bray Wanderers and Dundalk was desperately disappointing so Shane Keegan's team need to respond at the Inchicore venue.

United made six changes for Monday's tussle at Oriel Park with Dundalk dominant throughout. Ultimately United were fortunate to escape with only a two-goal beating, such was the Lilywhites' supremacy.

The previous Friday United were far too accommodating allowing Bray strike twice before a second half rally at Eamonn Deacy Park. Stephen Folan's goal did trim the deficit, but United were unable to force an equaliser in the closing stages.

It now means added significance can be attached to the St Pat's date with Liam Buckley's outfit having staged a fine comeback at the Market's Field on Saturday to earn a share of the spoils against Limerick.

Buckley's Saints are one point ahead of United in the table, so this upcoming 90 minutes promises to be revealing.

Wth only 13 fixtures remaining for United the margin for error is decreasing with each week.

Since beating Finn Harps courtesy of Vinny Faherty's deft header on May 19 United's form has been extremely poor.

Shamrock Rovers exploited United's naivety, while Bohemians and Derry City subsequently overpowered the Tribesmen.

There were some mildly encouraging signs in the Showgrounds when United rescued a draw, but Bray and Dundalk offered a harsh reminder of the distance that still has to be travelled.

With one point registered from a possible 18, the time has arrived for United to deliver a substantial display. Perhaps the most worrying aspect is the confidence United have gained from a nine match unbeaten run appears to have drained completely.

Recapturing the drive that United demonstrated during that burst has to be top of the agenda. United staged some stirring revivals in that spell, but the energy and enthusiasm for a battle must reach those levels once more.

The Dubliners will be without the suspended Ian Bermingham, who is a capable left back which is a blow for the Dubliners. But United will need to establish a solid midfield platform against a Pat’s side that puts an emphasis on passing the ball.

Alex Byrne’s aggression would surely aid United in this fixture offering further protection to central defenders Lee Grace and Stephen Folan. Colm Horgan and Marc Ludden will also occupy key roles for United, who know that defeat must be avoided. Further up the pitch United will be hoping Ronan Murray can pose questions of a Pat’s defence that has leaked 32 goals in 19 matches.

Belief and momentum must be generated by United, who face a crucial four months. Preserving premier division status is the aim, so there is no escaping the importance of this contest for United.

•Galway Soccer Co-Op is running a bus to Friday's match at Richmond Park, leaving The Dail Bar, Middle Street, at 4pm and picking up along the route. Contact Ronan Coleman (087 ) 6972823 or Dominick Walsh (087 ) 9163438 to book a seat.


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