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A Lee Duffy spot kick in the 83rd minuted ensured honours were even in Richmond Park on Monday evening when Drogheda United secured a valuable point against St Patrick’s Athletic.
Moments before kick off Drogheda were dealt a blow when Stephen Maher had to withdraw from the visitors’ starting line up, being replaced by Tiarnan Mulvenna.
In front of the St Pat’s faithful the home side made a bright to this fixture, with Liam Buckley’s side eager to get crosses into the box. And the first real chance of the game arrived inside the first ten minutes when James Chambers’ shot tested Michael Schlingermann in the Drogheda goal.
Moments later Drogheda’s Daryl Kavanagh called Conor O’Malley into action after his long range effort forced the keeper into a smart save.
St Pats continued to fire balls into the opposition box and a cross from Ian Bermingham was half cleared by the defence only for the ball to fall at the feet of Aaron Greene. His delivery caused a scramble among the Drogheda defence before the ball was finally cleared.
St Pats continued to attempt to break the deadlock, Chambers firing over the bar from the edge of the box before Chris Forrester received the ball on the edge of the box. Turning onto his left foot, he let fly only to see his shot cannon off the frame of the goal.
On the stroke of 30 minutes Drogheda’s Jason Marks found himself one-on-one with O’Malley in the St Pats goal but fired his shot wide of the post.
The game’s first goal arrived minutes later after a nice back heel from Marks freed Cathal Brady whose shot went out for a corner. From that delivery Marks picked out teammate Lloyd Buckley at the back post whose header gae the visitors the lead.
Minutes later Schlingermann in the Drogs’ goal had to be quick off his line to stop Bermingham from getting his shot away, but on the stroke of halftime the hosts got their just rewards from a cross by Bermingham which was met by the head of Conan Byrne to ensure the sides went into the break level.
The second half saw Pats continue to utilize their wide men with Conan Byrne firing over from close range, while a low cross from Ger O’Brien caused confusion in the Drogheda defence.
The third goal of the game arrived on the hour mark after a mix up inside the Drogheda box. Alan Byrne slipped, allowing Ciaran Kilduff to pounce and slot the ball past Schlingermann and give the hosts the lead for the first time in the game.
The hosts pushed hard for a third goal that would inevitably have sealed the game, Chambers forcing a great save from Schlingermann, while Kilduff fired wide with two close range efforts.
The final goal of the match arrived with seven minutes remaining after Pats fullback Lee Desmond was adjudged to have fouled Kavanagh. Referee Robert Harvey was in no doubt and pointed to the spot. Duffy calmly dispatched the spot kick into the bottom right corner of the net.
St Pats pushed hard for a winner with Bermingham, Forrester and substitute Morgan Langley all having efforts saved by an inspired Schlingerman.
Inside the last 60 seconds of injury time the home fans were incensed at the match officials when they felt Schlingerman had handled the ball outside the box, but the referee did not agree and waved play on.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley; Ger O’Brien ©, Kenny Browne, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne (Morgan Langley 65), Christopher Forrester (Greg Bolger 78), James Chambers (Jamie McGrath 86), Killian Brennan, Aaron Greene; Ciaran Kilduff
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke (gk), Sean Hoare, Conor McCormack, Jason McGuinness.
Booked: Bolger (86).
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingerman; Sam McGowan, Alan Byrne, Lloyd Buckley, Joe Gorman; Cathal Brady, Michael Daly ©, Sean Thornton (Mark Hughes 65), Jason Marks (Carl Walshe 78); Tiarnan Mulvenna (Lee Duffy 65), Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Evin Farrell (gk), Robert O’Reilly, Shane Dunne, Michael Scott.
Booked: Duffy (80).
Referee: Robert Harvey
Attendance: 1,000 (estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Aaron Greene (St Patrick’s Ath)