Tuesday 15 October 2019

Zero comfort to take from latest stalemate

SSE Airtricity League First Division: Limerick 0 Drogheda United 0

Marcus Cavaroli

Drogheda United's scoring drought in league and cup extended to three games when they were held by strugglers Limerick at the Markets Field on Friday night.

Having netted four times in their opening-day win over Cobh Ramblers, the lack of goals since then has been as surprising as it's been disappointing, although the Boynesiders will once again what might have been had they been awarded what they felt was a obvious penalty 17 minutes into the game.

Conor Kane had created the scoring opportunity when cutting inside and dinking an inviting ball in with his right foot, and as Chris Lyons attempted to latch onto it he tumbled to the ground in a clash with Killian Brouder.

Even some Limerick fans in the crowd were left stunned when referee Andrew Mullally didn't point to the spot.

The Drogs tried to keep the momentum going and they won a series of corner kicks before Sean Brennan fired a free kick just over the bar following another Brouder tackle on Lyons.

Just past the half-hour Limerick's Darren Murphy was yellow-carded for a late tackle on Adam Wixted after the livewire winger had broken out of defence, and Brennan's free kick from 25 yards was held at the second attempt by keeper Jack Brady.

Another swift counter-attack led by Mark Doyle ended with a Brennan shot from play that once again Brady was able to deal with.

There was another lucky escape for the Shannonsiders on 36 minutes when Brady's parry from a Lyons shot almost fell kindly for Wixted, only for a defender to arrive and boot the ball away to safety.

Brady then did well to hang on to a well-struck Brennan effort and a less dangerous Wixted shot and Doyle and Luke McNally failed to test the keeper with other scoring opportunities.

All the while, Limerick were posing little threat at the other end, other than a Brouder header from a Sean Russell free kick which flew over the bar.

However, Russell ballooned over the bar and Murphy did likewise as the first half ended on a slightly more positive note for the home side.

The Shannonsiders introduced Kieran Hanlon for the second half in place of Murphy and the sub almost made an instant impact when heading a Russell corner straight into the hands of underworked Drogs keeper Paul Skinner.

For the next quarter-hour both teams huffed and puffed with no end product, and there was then a lengthy stoppage as Wixted was treated for what turned out to be a dislocated shoulder.

He was replaced by Thomas Byrne and the Tenure man immediately set about stretching the Limerick defence, dribbling menacingly towards the area before being brought down by Jason Hughes right on the edge of the area.

Drogheda had the wind behind them at this stage, but once again Brennan's free kick hadn't enough zip on it as it seemed to go under the defensive wall before being collected low down by Brady.

Lyons then had a shot deflected behind and Byrne fired over Brady's crossbar, before Luke McNally failed to get his header on target from another free kick.

A Byrne chip dropped over the bar in the 83rd minute, but Drogheda's best chance of the game arrived heading towards stoppage time when a powerful Luke Gallagher header from Brennan's free kick flew just wide.

After dominating the game, the Drogs were almost hit by a massive sucker punch in the fifth and last minute of stoppage time when a snap shot from sub Hanlon flew well over the crossbar.

Drogheda Independent