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Sloppy Drogheda United taught a lesson by Students


Drogheda United’s Darragh Markey reacts to a missed goal chance during Monday’s game against UCD. Picture: Paul Connor

Drogheda United’s Darragh Markey reacts to a missed goal chance during Monday’s game against UCD. Picture: Paul Connor

Drogheda United’s Darragh Markey reacts to a missed goal chance during Monday’s game against UCD. Picture: Paul Connor


DROGHEDA United’s recent form on their home patch has been so good that their disappointing draw against UCD on bank holiday Monday felt like a real letdown.

However, the point secured edges them closer to top-flight safety and if they can back that up with a similar result – or better – against fellow relegation strugglers Finn Harps on Friday then it will take an incredible slump in fortunes to drag Drogheda back into danger territory in the Premier Division table.

When Drogheda scored from their first real attack in the third minute supporters must have been anticipating a memorable bank holiday afternoon, despite rain coming down in torrents at various stages.

It was finely constructed too as Dayle Rooney made the initial surge from midfield, before the ball was worked via Dean Williams to Darragh Markey out on the left flank.

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Markey curled a cross at pace beyond the back post and it was met first time by Adam Foley who lashed the ball into the net from a very tight angle.

In the ninth minute Drogheda should have taken advantage of poor defending to double their lead.

UCD weren’t alive to Rooney’s quick throw-in to Dane Massey and the skipper was given too much time and space to drive in a low cross which was cleverly back-heeled by Foley into the path of Williams.

However, Drogheda’s top scorer snatched at the opportunity and fired over the crossbar.

Foley was having a great spell and on 13 minutes he nearly bagged his second goal, showing lightning reactions to nip in ahead of his marker and steer a low left-footer narrowly wide from another Markey delivery.

A rare UCD attack nearly led to a goal as a slide-rule pass released Thomas Lonergan in the box, but Georgie Poynton got back and made a superbly timed challenge, toe-poking the ball behind for a corner.

Luck wasn’t on Drogheda’s side coming up to the 20-minute following another well-crafted move that was deserving of a goal. Once more Foley was involved along with Williams and Markey, and the latter picked out Rooney who crashed a shot off the post and crossbar before the ball rolled agonisingly across the six-yard box and away to safety.

After that, though, the Boynesiders took their foot off the gas and Andy Myler’s young UCD side began to cause problems. Lonergan’s header wide from point-blank range – he was flagged offside anyway – was a warning and Drogheda lived dangerously on several occasions before Colin McCabe produced a fine finger-tip save to push another Lonergan effort round the post.

In between Drogheda did finally test UCD keeper Lorcan Healy as he did well to clutch a low free kick by Williams, but the momentum was with the Students and they made it count with virtually the last kick of the first half.

The game was in the final seconds of added time when Andrew Quinn badly sliced an attempted clearance in the heart of the Drogheda penalty area.

Dara Keane looked like being crowded out as he took possession with his back to goal, surrounded by defenders, but somehow he managed to get turned and an attempted shot squirmed towards Lonergan whose shot nestled in the Drogheda net.

A Lonergan back-post header almost crept in just after half-time, but the Boynesiders then had a good spell and a Williams shot was cleared off the line by Sam Todd before Healy got down low at the butt of his right-hand post to turn a Rooney shot round the post.

Williams then just failed to connect with a brilliant driven low cross by Foley as the game opened up.

Drogheda had an escape, though, on the hour mark as McCabe failed to deal with a corner kick and UCD skipper Todd just failed to get a decisive touch in the six-yard box.

Drogheda rang the changes and one of the subs, Ryan Brennan, sent a flying header wide of the target from a Markey free kick.

Both sides could have won it at the death, but Poynton sliced wide for Drogheda and Todd hooked a shot wide at the other end in the final seconds.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Colin McCabe 6; Georgie Poynton 7, Andrew Quinn 6, Keith Cowan 7, Dane Massey 7; Gary Deegan 7, Darragh Nugent 8 (Darragh Noone 72, 7); Adam Foley 7 (Dylan Grimes 72, 6), Darragh Markey 7, Dayle Rooney 7 (Ryan Brennan 64, 7); Dean Williams 7 (Chris Lyons 64, 6). Subs not used: Emre Topcu, Stevan Stanic-Floody, Evan Haddock, Lee Steacy, Fiachra Pagel.

UCD: Lorcan Healy 7; Michael Gallagher 7, Sam Todd 8, Evan Osam 7; Alex Dunne 6, Dara Keane 7, Evan Caffrey 7, Donal Higgins 6 (Seán Brennan 74, 6), John Ryan 6 (Mark Dignam 74, 6); Dylan Duffy 7 (Alex Nolan 89), Thomas Lonergan 8. Subs not used: Alex Nolan, Harry O’Connor, Jamie Duggan, Johnny Haist, Danny Norris, Kian Moore.