Date: 7:45 p.m. March 11, 2011
Venue: Dalymount Park
Anthony Flood 60' -
The first half started in lively fashion with the home side having the better of the early play. Lee Dixon, in particular, was a constant threat on the left side of midfield as Bohemians forced Drogheda to defend throughout and eventually capitalized on their superiority with the only goal of the game coming in the 57th minute.
Anto Flood was the goal scorer, making it two goals from two games so far this season, not a bad return for the young striker. The home side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening period and looked menacing while the visitors looked on edge and took a while to settle into the tie.
A series of set pieces came early in the first half with Lee Dixon’s creativity on the right wing carving out the game’s first corner. Killian Brennan’s delivery was cleared by the Drogheda defence but shortly afterwards came another which was blocked by the body of Stephen McCrossan. The rebound fell to Stephen Traynor but his attempt was well defended by Philip Hand. There were calls for hand ball from the Bohemians fans but to no avail and minutes later it was Brennan who again carved out a chance when he played in a good ball to Christy Fagan, but the chance drifted wide.
On the 20 minute mark Fagan threatened with a shot from just five yards out but David Quirke in the Drogheda net was equal to it. Drogheda were keeping a high defensive line at this point as both Brennan and Fagan were causing problems for Mick Cookes’ men but Drogheda did find a way into the match.
Mark O’Brien stole the ball from a good passing spell by Bohemians, although his final pass to Dinny Corcoran was poor. There was more action around the half hour mark as, once again, Fagan delivered a shot from close range which was saved by the legs of Quirke, the United keeper.
At the other end a long ball was played into David Freeman and he found Corcoran inside the Bohemians’ box. The striker, in turn, laid the ball off to John Lester who took his time before firing a powerful strike which lacked the required accuracy and flew high and over. With 37 on the clock, another opportunity fell to the home team as Brennan played in Fagan who couldn’t find an opening to shoot. Instead he passed to Dixon who, in front of goal, was met by Philip Hand who put his body on the line, and deflected the ball out for a corner kick. The set piece, swung in deep, went wide of the post, but it marked a good spell for Pat Fenlon’s men.
The second half continued in the same vein with Bohemians applying the pressure via plenty of set pieces. Brennan was again the architect causing a deal of confusion between Drogheda defenders Hand and Whelan with an in-swinging ball that was eventually cleared. Another wave of attacking play from the black and red, almost broke the deadlock moments later but with more and more pressure being piled on the Drogheda United defence, it had to crack at some point.
The inevitable Bohemians goal arrived courtesy of Anto Flood just before the hour mark after his team mates had pulled the Drogheda defence out of position and the striker was given the space to power a header into the bottom left hand corner of the Drogheda net after a fine cross from Fagan. A soft goal to say the least.
Try as they might, neither side would score again. Mark Nolan, on as a substitute for Drogheda, developed some good possession in the middle of the park but a wayward pass to Ollie Cahill nearly spelt trouble for the visitors. Somehow a combination or Brian Gannon and Gareth Whelan cleared the danger.
United managed to attack more in the final twenty minutes creating something of an end to end encounter for the final period of the game. Mark Rossiter fired in a long range effort on 74 minutes which had Quirke at full stretch, but the keeper got a hand to it, making what was arguably the save of the match.
But the best chance of all fell to Lee Dixon after great play from Owen Heary provided a ball for Fagan. He passed to Flood who did well to cross for Dixon who was waiting to pounce on an almost certain goal. But the midfielder hoofed the ball high and over.
And so it ended, 1-0 to Bohemians, who were worthy winners although Drogheda showed enough positive signs to offer hope that things for Mick Cooke’s men may yet improve.
Bohemians: Barry Murphy; Mark Rossiter, Owen Heary, Aidan Price, Ollie Cahill; Lee Dixon, Killian Brennan, Ger O'Brien, Stephen Traynor (Karl Somers, 81); Christy Fagan, Anto Flood.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Daniel Joyce, Kevin Feely, Keith Buckley, Gary Burke, Chris Forrester.
Bookings: Fagan (82).
Sendings Off: None.
Drogheda United: David Quirke; Brian Gannon, Alan McNally (Mark Nolan, 65), Gareth Whelan, Philip Hand; Darragh McNamara (Colin O’Brien, 67), Mark O’Brien, John Lester, Stephen McCrossan; David Freeman, Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Stephen Trimble, Victor Ekanem, Sean Skelly, Jack Flynn, Darragh Hanaphy.
Bookings: Whelan (42), McNally (43).
Sendings Off: None.
Referee: Richie Winter.
Extratime Man of the Match: Lee Dixon.