League Play-Off Report: Shelbourne 1 - 2 Drogheda United (AET) Drogheda win 4-2 on penaltiesMon, Oct 08 2018
Andrew Dempsey reports from Tolka Park
Despite the herculean efforts of nine-man Shelbourne, Drogheda United prevailed on penalties after a night of high-drama at a rocking Tolka Park with Mark Doyle’s spotkick in the shootout sealing the deal for the Boynesiders.
Goals from Sean Brennan and Chris Lyons put the Drogs into a two goal lead as Shels looked to have caved losing two players to red cards before the first half was even over.
However Adam Evans scored the equalising goal of the tie to bring the game to extra-time, and later on, penalties but it was to be in vain as the heroics of Paul Skinner and the composure of Doyle the Drogs through to break Shels hearts at a bouncing Richmond Road venue.
United will face Finn Harps in the next stage of the promotion play-offs.
Coming into the game, Drogheda United knew that they had it all to do having gone a goal behind in the tie thanks to James English’ opener at United Park on Friday evening.
Kevin Doherty was calling the shots in the Drogs dugout as manager Tim Clancy and Director of Football Dave Robertson were completing their four game bans handed down in the fallout of the FAI Cup last 16 defeat to Waterford FC.
Starting off strong, Shels built up ahead of steam with two close deliveries from Lorcan Fitzgerald causing chaos in the County Louth side’s box. English went closest, but his header went straight at Paul Skinner in the Drogs goal.
There was early drama as McEnteer, deputising for the injured Aidan Collins, was dismissed following two yellow cards in the space of four minutes after just 11 mintues.
Shels soon after nearly saw their defecit double after as Chris Lyons fired agonisingly over the Reds bar after a tenacious Mark Doyle pulled the ball from the end-line.
On the half hour mark, Paddy Kavanagh called Skinner into action but his long drive was clawed away by the former Longford Town ‘keeper for a corner.
Just moments afterwards, Drogheda took a deserved lead as Sean Brennan smacked home after he got on the end of a cross sent in from the by-line by the lively Chris Lyons.
To cap a quite crazy first period, English was the second Shels player to be given his marching orders by Tomás Connolly after a horrific lunge on Jake Hyland in the 37thminute. Hyland had to be replaced by William Hondermarck after being stretchered off.
After the high-octane nature of the opening period, it was inevitable that the game was to enter a natural lull, as it did in the opening ten minutes of the second half.
Drogheda had the first real opening of the half as the recently introduced Gareth McCaffrey tried to tee up Hondermarck who couldn’t get his shot away after being crowded out by the staunch Shelbourne defence just before the hour.
Well on top, Drogheda grabbed their second of the night through a mazy Chris Lyons goal as he beat his way past the Shels rear-guard to give the Boynesiders the lead in the tie at Tolka Park.
As the half wore on, Drogheda imposed their well-executed game plan on a nine-man Shelbourne who looked bereft of ideas with only the boot of Lorcan Fitzgerald looking like their best chance of an opening.
However, Shelbourne were not dead. Karl Moore raced down the right-hand side as sent a beautiful ball into the feet of Evans who poked home past the onrushing Skinner in the Drogheda goal as Tolka Park erupted with relief and joy 13 minutes from time.
In the last real opening of the regulation ninety minutes, Drogheda’s Ciaran Kelly saw his curling effort go straight down the welcoming throat of Dean Delany in the Shelbourne goal as an increasingly frustrated Drogs ran out of ideas.
As the game went into extra-time, Drogheda tore open the Shels defence through Mark Doyle, but John Ross Wilson was in the right place at the right time to deny the Boynesiders a priceless lead in the tie.
Ciaran Kelly then tested Delany but the former Bohemians shot-stopper was more than equal to the task on hand.
The second period of extra-time came and went with neither side really threatening each-others defence as nerves began to set in with neither side risking what they already had and the possibility of penalties became inevitable at the Drumcondra venue.
Evans went close late but his looping header from Shane Farrell’s cross just escaped the net as the vocal Shelbourne fans released a huge gasp that could almost be heard all around Dublin’s Northside.
The inevitable lottery of penalties arrived, and it was Mark Doyle who sent the Drogs through coupled with the goalkeeping heroics of Skinner – who saved two spots kicks - as Shelbourne’s season ground to a heart-breaking halt.
Shelbourne:Dean Delany; John Ross Wilson, Derek Prendergast (David O’Sullivan 120), Reece McEnteer, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Karl Moore, Mark Hughes, Paddy Kavanagh (Shane Farrell, 101); Greg Moorhouse (Adam Evans, 69), James English.
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, James Brown, Gavin Boyne, Dayle Rooney.
Booked:Reece McEnteer (7 adn10), Dean Delany (82), Karl Moore (89), Derek Prendergast (93), Loran Fitzgerald (114).
Sent Off: Reece McEnteer (10), James English (37).
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy (Gareth McCaffrey, H/T), Conor Kane, Luke Gallagher, Kevin Farragher, Ciaran Kelly; Sean Brennan, Jake Hyland (William Hondermarck, 39), Richie Purdy (Janabi Amour, 103), Mark Doyle; Chris Lyons.
Subs not used: Kealan Dillon, Lloyd Buckley, Robert Manley, Luka Gratzer.
Booked:Colm Deasy (15), Ciaran Kelly (48), Janabi Amour (105).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Chris Lyons (Drogheda United).