Towell finally shatters Drogheda's resistance
Dundalk 1 Drogheda United 0
One of the characteristics associated with champions is patience. And how Dundalk's was severely tested in the 157th Louth derby at Oriel Park.
Eighty-eight frustrating minutes passed before Richie Towell struck for his fourth goal of the season to finally open up a stubborn, dogged Drogheda United backline.
The champions were left frustrated by their inability to break their neighbours down in the opening 45 minutes.
It looked promising for the Lilywhites early on with Towell denied by Micheal Schlingermann's fine save, low down to his left.
SWAI Player of the Month for March, David McMillan, then saw an acrobatic effort drift off target. Johnny McDonnell's side arrived with a game-plan to disrupt and contain the hosts and although it was awful to watch, it proved effective. Indeed, the Boynesiders will feel they should have held the advantage at half-time with Alan Byrne guilty of heading a glorious opportunity well off target on the half-hour mark.
The second half opened in the same vein with the league leaders trying to pick a way through the claret and blue banks of four. Daryl Horgan thought he had found the combination in the 63rd minute but Stephen Maher was on hand to stop the ball hitting the net with Schlingermann beaten.
To their credit, Dundalk kept calm and the winner arrived with two minutes to go. McMillan and Dane Massey combined brilliantly with the left-back's ball across goal hammered home at the far post by Towell.
DUNDALK: Rogers; Gannon, Boyle, Gartland, Massey; Shields (O'Donnell 73), Towell; Meenan (Byrne 80), Finn (Mountney 68), Horgan; McMillan.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Schlingermann; Daly, Buckley, Byrne (Dunne 67), Gorman; Marks (Brady h-t), Hughes, Maher, Walshe; Brennan; Kavanagh (Mulvenna 85).
REF: P Sutton