Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
Goals from Chris Lyons and a penalty from Sean Brennan were enough to seal a 2-0 win for Drogheda United against Wexford at United Park on Friday evening.
The game took a while to get going, with Drogheda having most of the ball in the opening exchanges but failing to create a chance of note and test Kealan Gaffney.
It was Wexford who had the first chance of the game, a quarter of an hour in, as they won the ball back on halfway and broke through Danny Doyle.
Doyle ran at the backtracking Drogheda backline and played the ball to Shane Barnes, who let fly from 25 yards, but Drogheda goalkeeper Paul Skinner was able to gather.
Drogheda lost their captain Jake Hyland to a head injury seven minutes later as he was involved in a nasty clash of heads with Danny Doyle, who saw himself booked.
The home side continued to press though, and Lyons almost opened the scoring as his low effort took a massive deflection off a Wexford defender and bounced narrowly wide of Gaffney’s goal.
From the resultant corner, Drogheda had the best chance of the game to that point as Ciaran Kelly rose highest, but his header bounced the wrong side of the post.
Drogheda had been finding space out wide and again did six minutes from the break as the ball was switched to Duffy by Dillon.
Duffy played the ball to Deasy, who had made a run on the overlapm before the full back played a low ball back towards Duffy. He took a few touches and went to ground, before being booked for diving by David Dunne.
Drogheda did hit the front before the break though as Lee Duffy’s low drilled effort from the edge of the box was only parried by Gaffney and Lyons was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Wexford did have a chance to equalise as Drogheda failed to clear and Croke eventually got the ball out of his feet before shooting narrowly wide of Skinner’s near post.
Like the first half, the second half was again very stop start, and slow to get going.
It wasn’t until the 68th minute that the action in the half began when Deasy drilled a low ball across the box towards Doyle, who fired goalbound but saw his effort blocked brilliant on the line by Owen McCormack.
Two minutes later, Wexford were on the attack with Dean George, who played the ball to Croke and he shot over Skinner’s bar from out wide on the left.
Drogheda continued to press and a brilliant individual run from Duffy saw him beat a number of Wexford players and get into the box before firing just over Gaffney’s bar at the near post.
The home side did find a second goal, eight minutes from time and it came from the spot after Conor Kane was fouled by Liam McCartan.
Brennan stepped up and calmly slotted home, sending Gaffney the wrong way to double his sides lead.
The last real chance of the game went to Drogheda as Brennan beat two players before watching his shot be palmed behind for a corner by Kealan Gaffney.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Ciaran Kelly, Kevin Farragher, Conor Kane; Luke Gallagher, Sean Brennan (William Hondermarck 87), Jake Hyland (Kealan Dillon 25); Lee Duffy, Chris Lyons (Gareth McCaffrey 83), Mark Doyle.
Subs not used: Luca Gratzer (GK), Victor Ekanem, Lloyd Buckley, Stephen Meaney.
Booked: Sean Brennan (33), Lee Duffy (39).
Wexford: Kealan Gaffney; Conor Sutton, Ross Kenny (Sean Kelly 79), Owen McCormack, Liam McCartan; John Morgan, Dean George, Thomas Croke, Danny Doyle (Mark Slater 75); Dean Kelly, Shane Barnes (Owen Wall 55).
Subs not used: Colum Feeney (GK), Aaron Dobbs.
Booked: Danny Doyle (22), Liam McCartan (81), Owen McCormack (92).
Referee: David Dunne.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of The Match: Kevin Farragher (Drogheda United).