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Shelbourne moved off the bottom of the Airtricity Premier League table on goal difference after drawing 2-2 with Drogheda United at Tolka Park on Monday night. However they will be disappointed not to have taken all three points after a double from Gavin Brennan ensured that Mick Cooke's side came from two goals down to earn a point.
The home side started the better of the two teams. The impressive Adam Hanlon made a couple of dangerous runs down the right hand side which troubled the visitors defence. Johnny McDonnell's team showed a much greater urgency from the start compared to their last home game against Bohemians.
Shels were rewarded for their early endeavour in the 13th minute when they took a rather fortunate lead. Derek Doyle took a corner from the right hand side with his left foot. His inswinging kick went over the head of Michael Schlingermann and into the far corner of the net. The Drogheda goalkeeper looked less than impressed after the concession of that goal.
Midway through the half Hanlon decided to try his luck from long range after a poor clearance. His shot was wide of the target though.
Shortly after that Johnny McDonnell's side doubled their lead. Drogheda failed to properly clear Adam Hanlon's cross from the right. The ball broke to Paul Andrews in the area. Andrews tried a shot, Schlingermann got his hand to the ball but couldn't prevent it from crossing the line.
The Louth club reduced the deficit in the 29th minute. Declan O'Brien went down under a challenge from Derek Doyle in the area. Referee Paul McLaughlin gave a penalty and booked Doyle. Gavin Brennan put the resultant spot kick into the net.
One of the best moments of the match occurred in the 39th minute. Ryan Brennan took a shot from about 25 yards out which look destined for the top corner but Lee Murphy dived to his left and pushed it away for a corner. It was a remarkable save by Murphy.
Drogheda started the second half the better of the two sides. They had most of the possession and came close to an equalizer on the hour mark. The ball broke to Declan O’Brien whose first time shot from the edge of the area was just wide.
Just a minute later it did become 2-2. O'Brien controlled the ball and played it to Ryan Brennan. He played it to his brother Gavin who crossed left footed. The ball evaded everybody including Lee Murphy and went into the corner of the net. Similar to Derek Doyle's first goal straight from a corner only Brennan will know if he meant to score or not.
Murphy, who had a mixed game, did make another fine save from a Paul O'Conor shot from the edge of the area in the 69th minute. Drogheda continued to dominate the second half. They had another chance when Peter Hynes flicked it on for O'Brien who found himself through on goal. However the Drogheda striker shot tamely at Murphy.
However Shelbourne did finish strongly and nearly went back in front against the run of play five minutes from the end of normal time. Robert Bayly and Dean Kelly combined to set up substitute Darren Tinnelly. Tinnelly's left foot shot looked destined for the bottom corner but Schlingermann dived full length to make the save. From the corner that followed Dean Kelly headed straight at the Drogheda goalkeeper.
In injury time Adam Hanlon cut in from the right and found Dean Kelly in space in the penalty area. However Kelly's first touch was poor and it took him away from goal. His subsequent effort was way too high.
After three minutes of injury time the game ended all square. Drogheda will face Dundalk in the FAI Cup semi-final on Sunday while Shelbourne will continue their battle against relegation.
Shelbourne: Lee Murphy; Robert Cornwall, Adam O'Connor, Paul Andrews, Pat Flynn; Adam Hanlon, Brian Gannon (Graham Gartland 90), Stephen Hurley, Derek Doyle (Darren Tinnelly 73), Sean Brennan (Robert Bayly 78); Dean Kelly.
Subs not used: Niall Burdon, Carl Walshe, Lee Murtagh, Dylan Connelly.
Booked: Hurley (27), Doyle (28)
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingemann; Gavin Hollohan, Alan McNally, Mick Daly, Philip Hand; Cathal Brady (Jason Marks 74), Paul O'Conor (Eric Foley 87), Ryan Brennan, Gavin Brennan; Peter Hynes, Declan O'Brien.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava, Graham Rusk.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Extratime.ie Man of the match: Gavin Brennan (Drogheda United).