Wednesday 19 December 2018

Nine-man Shels pay penalty as Drogs march on

Shelbourne 1 Drogheda Utd 2

Chris Lyons of Drogheda United celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Chris Lyons of Drogheda United celebrates scoring his side's second goal. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Drogheda remain on course for an immediate return to the Premier Division after prevailing in the play-off semi-final on penalties to meet Finn Harps on Friday.

Saves in the shootout by Paul Skinner from Lorcan Fitzgerald and Adam Evans made the difference on a night of high drama at Tolka Park.

James English of Shelbourne celebrates scoring. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
James English of Shelbourne celebrates scoring. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Shels led 1-0 from Friday's first leg but their goalscorer at United Park was one of two players to be sent off in the first half.

Reece McAteer was the first to be red-carded by Tomas Connolly after just 10 minutes, incurring his second yellow card in the space of three minutes for tripping Mark Doyle.

Drogs made the breakthrough on 32 minutes as Sean Brennan was left unmarked inside the box to rifle a low cross from Chris Lyons into the top corner.

It went from bad to worse for Shels five minutes later as James English's lunge on Jake Hyland earned him a straight red and a stretcher for his opponent.

8 October 2018; Seán Brennan of Drogheda United celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Promotion / Relegation Play-off Series 2nd leg match between Shelbourne and Drogheda United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
8 October 2018; Seán Brennan of Drogheda United celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity League Promotion / Relegation Play-off Series 2nd leg match between Shelbourne and Drogheda United at Tolka Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Owen Heary's side could only withstand so many let-offs like Ciaran Kelly's wayward header early in the second half.

Lyons eventually added Drogheda's second by cutting in from the right before rounding Dean Delany and tucking home.

Despite looking dead and buried, and Drogheda's suspended manager Tim Clancy in jubilant mood sitting in the stand, Shels forced extra-time and penalties with 14 minutes left when Karl Moore's cross allowed substitute Adam Evans to toe-poke in from close range.

But Drogheda eventually got over the line in the shootout.

Irish Independent

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