Galway United moved up to third in the table thanks to Declan Edwards' first goal for the club in a game that Drogheda will look back on with much regret as they failed to convert dominance for much of the game into a lead goal which could have proved enough for them to register their first win.
Edwards' introduction on 59 had a huge bearing on Galway recording their third win of the campaign as their manager dispensed with his 4-5-1 formation which was bearing little fruit. As soon as Vinny Faherty had a partner up front the Tribesmen began to look dangerous, after large periods of pressure from the home side.
Both sides were forced into changes from midweek, Galway replacing Seamus Conneely with Dave Cooke, while Alan Mathews was forced into two very late changes with first John Paul Kelly and then Robbie Farrell succumbing to injury after the team sheets were handed in;David O'Connor and Mark Duggan elevated to the starting XI at the last minute.
Paul Crowley was thus pushed into an advanced position to partner Jamie Duffy, who came in for the injured Shane Barrett. For Galway, Sean Kelly dropped back to right back with Dave Cooke slotting in at centre midfield.
The home side started the better of the two, attacking with gusto on both flanks but failing to test Barry Ryan, who instead watched a number of crosses drift across his area. Instead, it was Galway who went closest early on, as Vinny Faherty rattled the bar from close range following good work from Jay O'Shea and Derek O'Brien.
A swift counter-attack from Drogheda on 22 saw Duffy do well on the left flank but the danger was snuffed out by Garry Breen when the ball came across the six-yard box. Duffy again did well in the left corner three minutes later, beating Kelly with ease but his floated cross was diverted for a corner by Iarfhlaith Davoren.
If the opening portion of the half was relatively entertaining, the second portion struggled to raise the pulses. Both sides cancelled each other out in the main, with Galway content to leave Cian McBrien in front of the back four and relying on O'Shea to insert some drive into them, which he struggled to do. Drogheda did raise their game in the final moments of the half and Barry Ryan had to be alert to deny Crowley on two occasions within a minute; first snatching the ball away as Crowley went to round him, then blocking with his legs when the makeshift striker really should have scored.
Drogheda had another good chance three minutes after the resumption when Duffy outpaced Shane Guthrie but could only shoot harmlessly to the right and wide from the right hand side of the area. Crowley then got in behind Kelly but his cross was cleared and O'Brien broke at pace but could make nothing of it. More good work from Crowley on right forced a corner from which James Chambers eventually sent in a teasing cross which Conor Kenna headed over.
As with there most recent home game against Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda should have been in front and went close again goalscorer that night, Paul Shiels, drove low and hard, but straight at Ryan. The home crowd urged Alan Mathews' side on as Ian Foster made two substitutions, replacing Davoren with Paul Sinnott and bringing on Declan Edwards for McGrath as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 alignment.
The away fans were finally roused into song when Cooke was given a chance to shoot from distance but saw his 64th minute effort deflected behind for a corner. Some good work from Edwards on halfway on the right touchline saw him turn inside and feed O'Brien but the Kerry man's trickery was unable to deceive Chambers who shepherded him to safety.
Edwards was having a positive impact on the Tribesmen's attacking play, cleverly holding up play and getting his midfield onto the front foot, as a neat string of passes led to O'Brien cutting in and firing wide. Edwards, a loan signing from Stockport County, grabbed the lead for Ian Foster's side when he then headed in O'Brien's left wing cross from close range on 79.
Drogheda should have been level within three minutes, as again Duffy was the provider from the left, squaring invitingly for Mark Salmon, but the sub couldn't make sufficient contact with the goal virtually at his mercy. It was to prove the last chance for the Boynesiders as Galway held out well in the closing stages and recorded a vital win.
Drogheda United: Steve Williams; James Chambers, Conor Kenna, Ian Ryan, Robbie Clarke; David O'Connor (Mark Salmon 71), Mark Duggan, Paul Shiels, Gavin Whelan; Paul Crowley, Jamie Duffy.
Subs not used: Paul Skinner (gk), Mick Foley, Brian King.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Sean Kelly, Garry Breen, Shane Guthrie, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Paul Sinnott 52); Jay O'Shea, Cian McBrien (Alan Murphy 74), Dave Cooke, Michael McGrath (Declan Edwards 59), Derek O'Brien; Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley (gk), Jason Molloy.
Referee: Ray Crangle.
Attendance: 1,000 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Jamie Duffy (Drogheda United) - he didn't deserve to be on the losing side.