Date: 7:45 p.m. May 29, 2010
Venue: United Park
Drogheda were up against it from the first whistle with suspensions and injuries affecting selection. Kierans was forced into three changes, Gareth O’Connor, Eoghan Osborne and Eric McGill coming in, while for the Saints, Derek Doyle came in for Gareth Coughlan.
The first chance of the game came after just six minutes. Drogheda seemed to be under no pressure when the Saints played a long ball forward, but indecision by both Paul Skinner and Eoghan Osborne let Vinny Faherty through on goal. However, the centre forward couldn’t react quickest and Osborne was able to recover and clear.
Pat’s were dealt a blow on ten minutes as they lost right full-back Derek Pender through injury. As Pender was limped off the pitch, club captain Damian Lynch made his return from a hamstring injury. Drogheda’s first opportunity came on nineteen minutes, Ryan Brennan’s free from 25 yards out going wide of the right hand post, but with Saints keeper in control of the situation.
The travelling support hopes were falsely raised minutes later. A slick passing move from the Dublin side, involving Ian Bermingham and Dave Mulcahy, ended with American Ryan Guy cutting inside Osborne and shooting from 20 yards out. The Californian’s effort was parried by Paul Skinner straight to Paul Byrne, but the Saints striker could only find the side netting.
Drogheda created their first clear-cut chance on 28 minutes. A kick from hand by Skinner was poorly dealt with by Bermingham, and in trying to head back to his goalkeeper, Conor Kenna headed straight to the Boynesiders striker John Flood. One on one with Gary Rogers, Flood’s headed effort was brilliantly parried wide by the Saints keeper. From the resulting corner, Rogers again saved his side by tipping a dangerous Kendrick cross away with two Drogheda players waiting to pounce at the back post.
However after their spell of domination, Drogheda eventually punished the Saints. From another corner on the right, Joe Kendrick’s inswinging corner on 30 minutes was powerfully headed in by Paul Crowley.
Drogheda could have gone even further ahead minutes later but former Pats man Gareth O’Connor volleyed a cross by John Flood just wide of the post with Rogers looking beaten in the Saints goal.
Stunned by the brief domination by the home side, Pats fought back on the stroke of half-time. From a free on the left side of the pitch, Derek Doyle’s free found the head of Vinny Faherty and the strikers effort flew in past Skinner to give the Saints an equaliser and major psychological advantage going into the break.
At the start of the second half, Kierans brought in Colm Smyth for Osborne. The switch, which led to positional changes across the Drogheda defence and midfield, proved to be a masterstroke.
On 60 minutes, the Drogheda front two combined well as Smyth’s hooked cross from the byline found Flood and the striker’s header almost wrong footed Rogers in the Saints goal. Pat’s themselves went close ten minutes later, but Shane Guthrie’s downward header from a Ryan Guy cross was bravely cleared by Corie Treacy.
Joe Kendrick’s ability from set-pieces was always a constant threat, his free found Alan McNally unmarked in the Pat’s penalty area on 77 minutes. However with his back to goal, the Drogheda skipper could only head straight into Rogers arms.
But Kendrick’s crossing ability would prove the difference in the end. With four minutes remaining, the former 1860 Munich player picked out John Flood in the penalty area and the striker calmly slotted the ball past Rogers to the delight of the home support.
Pat’s had one last effort to equalise, Alex Williams latching onto a long ball into the penalty area, but his cross cum shot went wide of the goal and just evaded the outstretching foot of Paul Byrne.
But Drogheda weren’t to be denied, holding on to gain their first home league victory of the season and their third win against the Saints this season.
Drogheda United: Skinner; Treacy, McNally(c), Kendrick, Osborne (Smyth 45); B McGill, Crowley, E McGill, Brennan (Kerr 93); O’Connor, Flood.
Subs not used: P Murphy, S Murphy, Kierans.
Saint Patrick’s Athletic: Rogers; Pender (Lynch 10), Kenna, Guthrie, Bermingham; Guy, Mulcahy (McAllister 78), S Byrne (c), D Doyle; Faherty (Williams 83), P Byrne.
Subs not used: Connor, Sinnott.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Joe Kendrick.
Referee: Alan Kelly
Attendance: 1500 (estimate)