Drogheda sunk by Flood
Bohemians 1 Drogheda United 0
Published 12/03/2011 | 05:00
THEY played the old Simple Minds number 'Alive and Kicking' before kick-off at Dalymount Park, a tune adopted by Bohs for this season and which seemed particularly appropriate for this encounter.
Both these protagonists could have been dead and buried following a winter of discontent, owing their survival to the endeavour of the respective groups of supporters and their Premier Division status to the vagaries of FAI licensing.
In his programme notes, Gypsies manager Pat Fenlon stressed that it was now time to move on and, with a second successive win to mark the start of the new league season, his youthful side are making a good fist of accelerating that process.
Anto Flood's second-half goal proved the difference against a Drogheda side that was put together with a First Division campaign in mind. Sure, it wasn't the kind of victory that would have Bohs supporters rushing out to place money on league success; this crop are realistically lacking the quality or experience to scale those heights.
Nevertheless, the Daymount faithful were able to sing about being top of the league. Something to smile about, at least, in contrast to the prevailing mood over the past few months.
Fenlon had acknowledged in the preliminaries that Drogheda were the only team with less preparation ahead of the campaign, and Mick Cooke arrived in Dalymount with a game plan to contain. He went with a 4-5-1 formation although, to be fair to his charges, they competed well in the opening stages, with ex-Bohs midfielder Mark O'Brien stinging the fingers of the returning Barry Murphy.
Bohs gradually began to assert some dominance as the half progressed and created the best of the chances, with Killian Brennan cast as provider with some fresh faces pulling the trigger.
Belvedere product Stephen Traynor volleyed wide from a clever Brennan lay-off and ex-Manchester United striker Christy Fagan should have opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. After expertly making space for the shot, he drilled straight at the advancing Drogheda stopper David Quirke.
Drogheda's lone ranger up front Daniel Corcoran threatened with a deflected effort, but Cooke's men were on the defensive again before the interval when left-full Philip Hand bravely got his body in the way of Lee Dixon's close-range drive.
It was scrappy fare for the reasonably sized attendance, and the pitch cutting up didn't exactly make for pretty stuff as affairs progressed, although Traynor displayed a refreshing willingness to get on the ball.
But when Bohs broke the deadlock just short of the hour mark, it was courtesy of the direct route, with Mark Rossiter's inviting cross finding Flood, who spun into space and diverted an accurate header beyond Quirke.
The task for Cooke's charges steepened when they lost experienced centre-half Alan McNally to injury in the minutes after they fell behind. Chasing a deficit, he pushed David Freeman up in support of Corcoran, a necessary step which brought the risk of getting caught on the break as the game opened up.
Rossiter was getting more space to roam from right-back and tested Quirke with a thunderbolt that was preceded by a lung-bursting run into the final third.
Drogheda weren't in a mood to lie down, though, and sub Colin O'Brien shot inches over after a purposeful burst into the danger zone, but it was as close as the Louthmen came.
Dixon squandered a chance at the other end to put the result beyond doubt and the hosts were comfortable in the final minutes. Next week's trip to Dundalk will provide a more difficult examination.
Bohemians -- Murphy, Rossiter, Heary, Price, Cahill; Dixon, O'Brien, Traynor (Somers 81), Brennan; Flood, Fagan
Drogheda -- Quirke, Gannon, McNally (Nolan 65), Whelan, Hand; McNamara (C O'Brien 70), M O'Brien, Lester, McCrossan, Freeman; Corcoran
Ref -- R Winter (Wicklow)