Sunday 19 November 2017

Foley magic helps Drogs to stumble over line

RYAN Brennan's third goal of the season proved the winner as Drogheda United picked up an unconvincing first victory of the season over Bray at a freezing Hunky Dorys Park.

The Seagulls looked to be on course for a shock win when Jason Byrne fired them into a 15th-minute lead, but second-half goals from Eric Foley and the younger of the Brennan brothers turned Drogheda's fortunes around.

The Drogs had a David Cassidy goal ruled offside before being stunned in the 15th minute as Byrne's 25-yard strike caught out Gabriel Sava, who allowed the ball to slip past his out-stretched right hand and into the net.

Drogheda should have been level on 25 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Cassidy was tripped from behind by Gary Dempsey, but Declan O'Brien's fiercely driven shot was saved by the feet of Darren Quigley.

The 'keeper then blocked shots from Paul O'Conor, Foley and Cassidy as Bray managed to hold out until half-time.

Drogheda nearly went two goals down straight after the restart when Byrne raced clear of a static home defence, only to send it wide of Sava.

It proved a costly miss, for the Drogs hauled themselves level on 55 minutes when Eoin Hyland was penalised for what looked like a deliberate handball to prevent Cassidy's pass reaching Gavin Brennan in an advanced position. Foley lined up the free-kick 20 yards out and curled a superb effort beyond Quigley.

Bray almost responded immediately as Kieran Marty Waters' shot was deflected behind, and from the resulting corner Byrne's header was clutched on the line by Sava.

After that, Drogheda struggled to create clear-cut opportunities, but on 78 minutes they made the vital breakthrough when Shane Grimes' cross from the left was nodded in from close range by Ryan Brennan.

DROGHEDA – Sava; Quigley, Byrne, Gannon, Grimes; R Brennan, D Cassidy (Rusk 71), O'Conor, Foley (Hynes 85), G Brennan; O'Brien.

BRAY – Quigley; Hyland (Doyle 61), D O'Connor, Webster, Knight; Waters, K O'Connor, Dempsey, Zambra, Earley

(Mulroy 70); Byrne (O'Neill 78).

Ref – T Connolly (Dublin)

Irish Independent

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