Brandon Miele keeps up scoring streak as Shamrock Rovers beat Drogheda United
Drogheda United 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
BRANDON Miele kept up his hot scoring streak to settle this hard-fought SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at United Park and extend Shamrock Rovers’ good run of domestic results.
It was no surprise to see Rovers come out all guns blazing, looking for an early goal to keep their slender title hopes alive.
They should have got one in the second minute when Gary McCabe planted a free kick onto the head of left-back Luke Byrne who got his jump all wrong and the ball sailed harmlessly wide.
Rovers then created a similar chance from open play as Simon Madden swung the ball in from the right towards Gavin Brennan whose header flew narrowly wide.
The Hoops’ next opportunity stemmed from careless play by Drogs centre-half Robert O’Reilly as he was dispossessed by Danny North. The ball went wide to Gavin Brennan who squared back into the path of North and his shot was blocked by the head of Joe Gorman.
Drogheda responded with a good 10-minute spell during which Tiarnan Mulvenna blazed over the bar and MarkHughes drove well wide, so it was somewhat against the run of play when Rovers struck the lead goal just after the half-hour.
They counter-attacked from a Drogheda corner and great pressure from Miele forced Hughes into giving the ball away. Miele burst clear on goal and slotted calmly past keeper Micheal Schlingermann to put Rovers ahead.
The game swung from end to end on the restart but with no clear-cut chances until the hour mark when Drogheda should have levelled.
Michael Daly’s low centre was met by Ger Pender, making his first start since moving from Cabinteely, and the big number 11 deflected the ball goal-wards only for David Webster to get a touch to take it wide.
Alan Byrne headed over the bar from the resulting corner kick as the Boynesiders continued to make life hard for the Tallaght men and as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes Rovers still had that slenderest of leads.
Drogheda found another gear and pressed hard for an equaliser but couldn’t generate a clear-cut chance, the closest to an equaliser coming on 89 minutes when Sean Brennan had a long-range free kick blocked by Rovers’ defensive wall.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Schlingermann; M Daly, Byrne, O’Reilly, Gorman; Duffy, Thornton, Hughes, Mulvenna; Brennan; Pender. Subs: Marks for Pender (65min), Maher for Hughes (77min), McKenna for Mulvenna (84min).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Hyland; Madden, Webster, Kenna, Byrne; McCabe, Cregg; Miele, R Brennan, G Brennan; North. Subs: Drennan for North (79min), Kavanagh for R Brennan (86min).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan)