Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
Derry City kicked off their 2020 pre-season with a win away to Drogheda United thanks to an early strike from captain Ciaron Harkin.
The goal came from the first real chance of the game as a ball cut back from the left was missed by Drogheda defender Hugh Douglas.
That allowed the ball to fall into the path of Harkin who fired goalwards from eight yards, finding the bottom corner despite goalkeeper Ross Treacy getting a strong hand to the effort.
Drogheda’s first effort came three minutes later as Luke Heeney, playing at right-back in the first half, found Doyle with a long diagonal pass.
Doyle beat his man easily but saw his shot take a big deflection, bouncing comfortably into the hands of Nathan Gartside.
Derry were next to threaten as James McDonagh met a cross from the left acrobatically on the edge of the box but saw his effort bounce wide of Treacy’s goal.
Figueira and Mallon both looked threatening throughout, and good play by Figueira on the edge of the box created an opening as he cut the ball back to Mallon but his shot was straight at Treacy.
Trialist A was lively throughout on the left for Derry, finding Clifford on the half hour mark, but the former St. Patrick’s Athletic player fired his effort well over the bar.
Drogheda made ten changes at half time, with Luke Heeney the only player to play the full ninety for the Boynesiders, moving into midfield for the second half.
Derry made three changes at half-time and would make a further six throughout the second half.
It was the home side who had the first chance of the second half as Conor Kane and James Clarke linked up but Clarke’s shot was saved by Gartside.
Derry were threatening throughout as Harkin and Trialist A had shots from distance fired wide and blocked while Drogheda had opportunities from set pieces.
Luca Gratzer was then called into action twice in quick succession, first to deny Harkin with a great fingertip save after Drogheda had given the ball way cheaply from a free in their own box.
Two minutes later, Derry were awarded a free with Gratzer this time diving low to his left to deny Stephen Mallon.
Drogheda almost found a late equaliser as a slip from Trialist C saw Chris Lyons in on goal but Gartside was quick off his line to deny the forward.
Drogheda United First Half: Ross Treacy; Luke Heeney, Jack Tuite, Hugh Douglas, Ryan O’Shea; Jake Hyland (C), Frank Cabraley, Richie O’Farrell; Adam Wixted, Mark Doyle, Jordan Adeyemo.
Drogheda United Second Half: Luca Gratzer; James Brown, Derek Prendergast, Kevin Mohammad, Conor Kane (C); Mark Hughes, Luke Heeney, Sean Brennan; Brandon Bermingham, James Clarke, Chris Lyons.
Unused Subs: David Odumoso (GK).
Derry City: Nathan Gartside; Ally Gilchrist, Trialist B, Eoin Toal, Trialist A; Conor McCormack, Ciaron Harkin (C); Conor Clifford, Walter Figueira, Steven Mallon; Jamie McDonagh.
Derry City Subs: Toal (Trialist C HT’), McDonagh (Jack Malone HT’), Clifford (Mark McChrystal HT’), McCormack (Ronan Boyce 65’), Trialist A (Michael Harris 65’), Harkin (Patrick Ferry 73’), Figueira (Orrin McLoughlin 73’), Mallon (Evan McLaughlin 86’), Gilchrist (Jack Parke 86’).
Unused Subs: Jack Lemoignan.