Murray the hero for Town as he saves two penalties
GOALKEEPER Nathan Murray was the Drogheda Town hero as he saved two spot kicks to ensure a penalty shootout victory in this Under-18 Safari Youth Cup tie.
The Portlaoise side had the upper hand in the first half of normal play and a bad tackle in the box won them a penalty early in the game which they easily converted.
Town did have a chance to equalise when Andy Sullivan headed just over the crossbar from a corner kick, but Rose & Alice then doubled their score from good work on the wings saw them pass the ball through the Drogheda defence and the sweetly struck shot that followed nestled in the net.
Crucially, Drogheda responded quickly as DJ Smyth crossed the ball dangerously in front of the goals and Brandon Sullivan duly tapped in - 2-1 to the visitors at half-time.
Drogheda had the upper hand in the second half, but were frustrated initially as Smyth got a shot away that the Portlaoise keeper caught well.
The equaliser came from a free kick well taken by Kieran Bowes which was flicked on by Brandon Sullivan and Bobby McCormack rose to head the ball past the Rose & Alice keeper.
That goal forced extra time, but Murray in the Drogheda goal had to make a couple of saves in the first period, and although the Boynesiders fared better in the second half of extra time the stalemate remained and so the tie would be decided by penalties.
Murray stood in goals first and immediately put the Portlaoise boys under pressure with a save, but the next eight kicks were all successful and when the Portlaoise keeper stopped Drogheda's final kick it went down to sudden death.
This time Drogheda went first and Karl Harding lashed the ball into the net, before Murray completed the job by keeping out Portlaoise's sixth kick.
Drogheda Town: N Murray, K Harding, A Sullivan, C Smith, A Bone, J Walsh, A Wilton, S Bradley, B Sullivan, D Fitzpatrick, S Murray, DJ Smyth, S Allen, B McCormack, G Histoloff, D Rothwell, D Carroll, K Bowes, C Tully.