Bohemians claimed their second victory over Drogheda United this season to extend the home side’s winless run in the Airtricity Premier Division. A Killian Brennan first half goal was the difference between the sides on the night.
The visitors controlled the game for most of the opening 45 but despite Bohs’ dominance, it was Drogheda who produced the first effort of note when Gypsies goalkeeper Chris O’Connor had to tip over a Philip Hand free-kick after only three minutes.
However Bohs settled quickly after that and began to boss midfield with the usual culprits looking menacing in attack. On eight minutes Brennan flashed a curling free into the box, but the midfielder just over-hit his cross.
You sensed there was more to come from Brennan and five minutes later he crossed superbly for striker Anto Flood whose header was just turned away by Steven Trimble in the Drogheda goal before Victor Ekenam hacked clear.
Brennan continued to shine for the away side and had recorded another effort on 19 minutes when he was brought down by Stephen Quigley 35 yards out. Brennan shot low and hard and Trimble could only parry but there was no Bohs player on hand to apply the finish. One minute later Brennan saw his curling effort crash off the post with Trimble rooted to the spot.
While the hosts were outclassed for most of the first half, they did record two efforts of their own though Hand’s after 3 minutes was the only time O’Connor looked troubled.
Bohemians finally got the breakthrough on 31 minutes. The move of the match began with forward Stephen Traynor chesting nicely to Flood on the edge of the opposing box. He in turn rolled the ball to Brennan who skipped past the Drogs defence before rifling left footed past Trimble meaning Bohs took a deserved lead into the break.
The away side picked up where they left off in the second half as they continued to dominate in midfield and were rarely troubled in defence. Drogs boss Mick Cooke sensed changes was needed and made some early substitutions after the restart. Sean Skelly and Jack Flynn were introduced to bolster the Drogheda midfield.
But Bohs continued to threaten in the early stages of the restart. Indeed they would have had a certain goal if captain Owen Heary had connected with a Brennan corner 12 minutes into the half. However Brian Gannon nipped in to head behind for another corner and keep his side in the game.
Flood had another chance 10 minutes later. Again the influential Brennan was the provider as he whipped in another corner kick from the right. However the forward could only manage to power his header over the bar.
To their credit, Drogheda characteristically showed a marked improvement in the second half. The substitutions seemed to steady the side as Drogs started to pass the ball around in the middle and finally began to ask questions of Pat Fenlon’s men. However, despite their best efforts, they failed to seriously test O’Connor’s goal.
The game sprang into life with 20 minutes left. Traynor and Buckley linked up superbly down the right before the latter found Flood in an advanced position. As the forward turned the ball seemed to come off the arm of Drogs’ defender Alan McNally but referee Paul Tuite waved play on.
On 80 minutes, yet another Brennan in swinging corner caused problems for Bohs’ defence. This time it was midfielder Keith Buckley with the effort but his overhead was headed off the line with Trimble well beaten.
Cooke made his final change as the board went up to indicate five minutes of stoppage time. And Dinny Corcoran could have made himself the hero only moments after coming on as he collected possession in acres of space 18 yards out from goal. However his low drive was blocked down by the Bohs resilient defence.
The home side continued to plug away right up to full time and had a number of corners but all were easily cleared. As Tuite’s final whistle sounded the Bohs players celebrated a keenly contested but deserved victory. Once again Drogheda’s honesty of effort failed to be rewarded and they continue their search for that elusive first victory. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Hunky Dorys Park faithful.
Drogheda United: Stephen Trimble; Mark Nolan, Philip Hand, Alan McNally, Victor Ekenam; Brian Gannon, Stephen McCrossan (Jack Flynn, 55), Mark Quigley (Sean Skelly, 49), Mark O’Brien; Darragh Hanaphy, David Freeman (Dinny Corcoran, 83).
Subs not used: David Quirke, Darragh McNamara, Colin O’Brien, Robbie Gaul.
Bookings: M Nolan (42), S McCrossan (53), J Flynn (76), A McNally (84).
Bohemians: Chris O’Connor; Owen Heary, Ger O’Brien, Liam Burns, Aiden Price; Mark Rossiter, Keith Buckley, Robert Bayly, Killian Brennan; Anto Flood, Stephen Traynor (Chris Forrester, 89).
Subs not used: Gary Burke, Lee Dixon, Roberto Lopez, Kevin Feeley, Eoin Fowler, Craig Sexton.
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Attendence: 800 (est).
extratime.ie man of the match: Killian Brennan tormented the Drogs defence for the 90 minutes and was unlucky to have only scored one goal here.