League Report: Dundalk 3 - 1 Drogheda United
Patrick Hoban again proved to be the Achilles heel of Drogheda as he helped Dundalk to their fourth derby win of the season.
Trailing early on, they got themselves level just before the break.
Daniel Kelly gave them the lead before Hoban’s late clincher to help them move within a point of Shelbourne.
It was a tough night for the away side though. They lost the services of Conor Keeley and Ryan Brennan before kick-off despite opening the scoring in the first half.
They were unable to hold on once Dundalk went ahead and are still waiting for the points to officially ensure their safety.
Both managers made changes after impressive wins. Stephen O’Donnell brought in Kelly and Robbie Bensen for the injured Hayden Muller and John Martin who dropped to the bench.
He was joined by the returning Keith Ward. Keeley was forced to miss out due to injury whilst Warren Davis and Kyle Robinson dropped to the bench. Jamie Egan, Ryan Brennan and Doyle Rooney all started.
Both sides emerged to a raucous reception from a packed Oriel Park. Dundalk had marginally the better of the play in the earlier stages as they sought to build on their win on Monday night.
Paul Doyle had the first effort of note only to see his long-range shot go over the bar.
The home side should have taken the lead about twenty minutes in. Patrick Hoban took advantage of a deflection into his path to feed Daryl Horgan down the line.
He played it across the goal into the direction of Sam Durrant. He was only able to sky it over the bar from a yard out.
And Dundalk were made pay for that moments later. Evan Weir headed a Dundalk attack clear and into the path of Dayle Rooney.
He laid it inside to the supporting Kyle Robinson who had come on as an early substitute for Ryan Brennan. He outpaced Greg Sloggett to slide it underneath the advancing Nathan Shepperd.
He almost replicated it moments later he peeled off Darren Brownlie onto a long ball. He had just strayed offside.
Many of the home side attacks were breaking down at this point as the likes of Jamie Egan and Luke Heeney were marshalling affairs.
Drogheda players were constantly looking to break with pace. Egan did escape disaster when Archie Davies crossed it towards Hoban and headed it just past his own post.
Dundalk equalised somewhat out of the blue from a Robbie Benson corner that Horgan headed goalwards. It was cleared off the line by Adam Foley but not sufficiently away.
It came out to Doyle who was lurking on the edge of the area. He swept his effort low into the opposite corner before Wogan was able to react in time.
The visitors almost regained the lead on verge of half-time. Dundalk were guilty of coughing up possession to allow Foley play it through for Robinson through the middle.
Shepperd was quick off his line to force the attacker wide, and the move was snuffed out.
The talk at half-time proved effective as Dundalk went ahead almost immediately. Hoban did well to win the ball in midfield before playing it out wide to Davies.
He looked up and crossed it low into the path of Daniel Kelly who got ahead of his marker to flick it home.
Davies was at it again moments later when his cross caused panic in the centre before Henney just about got it away.
The game was still in the balance and Drogheda almost levelled it up. A corner was not cleared properly before Conor Kane chipped it back into the penalty area.
It was missed by Brownlie into the path of Warren Davies at the back post. He chipped it over Shepperd, but only succeeded in hitting the crossbar.
The game was put to bed via Drogheda’s nemesis Hoban. A chance was cleared initially for a corner, but he managed to get ahead of his marker to force the ball home at the back post.
Dundalk were comfortable enough in the closing stages to the delight of their fans. Both sides are in action next Friday in the only two Premier Division games.
Drogheda will aim to secure the points for survival when they take on Derry at Weavers Park while Dundalk have an intriguing game away to Shelborne as both chase Europe.
Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Robert Benson, Darren Brownlie, Archie Davies, Gregory Sloggett; Paul Doyle (John Martin 78), Samuel Durrant (Ryan O'Kane 66), Daniel Kelly, Johannes Yli-Kokko (Hayden Muller 66); Patrick Hoban (Senan Mullen 90), Daryl Horgan (Alfie Lewis 78).
Subs not used: Peter Cherrie, Darragh Leahy, Keith Ward, Cameron Elliott.
Booked: Robert Benson (63).
Drogheda United: Andrew Wogan; Jamie Egan, Luke Heeney, Conor Kane, Evan Weir; Gary Deegan, Adam Foley, Darragh Markey (Warren Davis 61), Matthew O’Brien, Dayle Rooney (Luke Wade Slater 79); Ryan Brennan (Kyle Robinson 19).
Subs not used: Colm Cox, Ryan Maher, Jarlath Jones, Darragh Noone, Emre Topcu, Michael Leddy.
Booked: Kyle Robinson (34).
Referee: Rob Hennessy
extratime.com Player of the Match: Archie Davies (Dundalk).