League Report: St Patrick’s Athletic 1 - 2 Drogheda United
Macdara Ferris reports from Richmond Park
Drogheda Untied exploited ill-discipline from St. Patrick’s Athletic to claim a precious 2-1 win in Inchicore on Monday night with Dayle Rooney scoring a screamer of a winner eight minutes from time.
It meant that nine man St. Patrick’s Athletic couldn’t make their most of their game in hand as they remain in third place in the table six points behind league leaders Shamrock Rovers with five games to go (and a point behind second placed Derry City).
The Athletic will rue the red card earned by half time substitute Jake Mulraney after he picked up two yellow cards in just 13 minutes, with Sam Curtis getting a straight red for an x-rated challenge on Ryan Brennan in injury time at the end of the game.
Drogs boss Kevin Doherty will view it as a very valuable three points as they are now a dozen points clear of the relegation play-off position aided by Dundalk’s thumping of ninth placed Cork City.
Both first half goals came from defensive errors with the opener coming from Warren Davis who embarrassed Pats keeper Dean Lyness by blocking his clearance into the goal in just the seventh minute.
Adam Foley flicked on a long ball and Saints skipper Joe Redmond’s backpass to his keeper was hit with a bit too much pace. Lyness took a touch but was too slow to clear allowing 18-year-old Davis block the ball to score what was his first ever league goal.
Davis almost doubled Drogheda’s lead a minute later, only for Lyness to push his low effort from outside the box around the post.
Tommy Lonergan, fresh from his brace against Dundalk last Friday, led the line for the Saints and he had a couple of headers that he failed to test Andrew Wogan with when he really should have.
There was Anto Breslin’s cross in the 14th minute and Kian Leavy’s on the half hour mark.
The Saints went super close with a Jason McClelland freekick that beat the Drogheda wall but dropped just wide of the frame of the goal.
Mark Doyle should have done better with his close range effort that Chris Forrester served him up but he directed a weak shot on the goal that was no bother to Wogan.
The Saints weren’t to be denied though and Forrester scored his 13th goal of the league campaign five minutes from the break. Gary Deegan was way too loose with an attempted pass in the penalty box and Forrester nipped in to take the ball and whip a shot by Wogan for the equaliser.
Jon Daly withdrew McClelland at half time bringing on Mulraney but he only lasted 21 minutes as he picked up two yellow cards in a 13 minute period and received a red card and his marching orders from referee David Dunne.
Mulraney had lunged in on Davis in the 53rd minute and it was his high tackle on Evan Weir that earned him his a second card.
Prior to that sending off the Saints had been in the ascendancy even if their only real clear cut chance was from Doyle.
It looked like his driven effort from the back post off a delightful Jamie Lennon centre would give the Saints the lead but Wogan was well positioned to save – holding onto the powerful shot where any error was likely going to be punished by Doyle closing in on him.
The Drogs exploited the space left by the red card and got the winner through substitute Rooney in the 82nd minute. Running onto a chipped Darragh Markey pass, his cracking volley off the outside of his left foot flew into the net by Lyness to earn the Boynsiders all three points.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Dean Lyness; Sam Curtis, David Norman Jr., Joseph Redmond ©, Anthony Breslin (Adam Murphy 87); Jamie Lennon, Kian Leavy (Ben McCormack 67); Jason McClelland (Jake Mulraney 46), Christopher Forrester, Mark Doyle (Alex Nolan 66); Thomas Lonergan (Mason Melia 75).
Subs not used: Daniel Rogers, John-Alan McGrath, Thijs Timmermans, Anthony Dodd.
Booked: Jake Mulraney (53), Jake Mulraney (66).
Sent off: Jake Mulraney (66), Sam Curtis (90+6)
Drogheda United: Andrew Wogan; Luke Heeney, Conor Keeley, Evan Weir, Conor Kane; Matthew O’Brien, Gary Deegan ©; Adam Foley (Ryan Brennan 61), Darragh Markey, Warren Davis (Luke Wade Slater 70); Kyle Robinson (Dayle Rooney 61).
Subs not used: Colm Cox, Jarlath Jones, Jamie Egan, Darragh Noone, Emre Topcu, Michael Leddy.
Booked: Kyle Robinson (21), Luke Heeney (35), Ryan Brennan (75).
Referee: David Dunne.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Darragh Markey (Drogheda United)