Peter Hynes 27' -
Drogheda United booked their place in the next round of the Ford FAI Cup with a slender 1-0 win over First Division side, Wexford Youths, at Hunky Dorys Park on Friday night.
Peter Hynes settled matters in the 27th minute, a move which began at the back, saw Brian Gannon send a long ball up to Tiarnan Mulvenna who brilliantly trapped it and held up play to allow Ryan Brennan get up to position before playing it to the winger who whipped the ball into the path of Peter Hynes who headed past Aidan Keenan.
Drogheda United lie second in the Premier Division while Wexford Youths are third from bottom in the First, but over the course of 90 minutes you’d be hard pressed to see who was where as the home side were pushed to the limit by the visiting side.
The home side lined out with a much changed back four as Alan McNally, Alan Byrne and Conor McMahon were all out. Declan O’Brien dropped to the bench also as Tiarnan Mulvenna was handed a rare start alongside Peter Hynes. John Sullivan also made the move from sub to starter. Wexford also relegated two-goal hero Danny Furlong to the bench, the striker bagged the winner in the only meeting between these teams.
All the action took place in the opening and closing period of the match as Wexford set out to frustrate their opponents with a 4-5-1 formation. Drogheda had some chances in the opening exchanges but the first real effort came from the visitors when some really lax play by Stephen Quigley in particular allowed Wexford steal the ball right in the corner, Dean Broaders drove into the box and pulled back for the unmarked Shane Nolan to fire on the half volley at Sava who got down to save.
The keeper was tested again on 20 minutes when Eric Foley lost possession and Wexford broke through James Darmody who played a dangerous low ball back across the Drogheda defence and Broaders was all alone and fired a shot at Sava which the keeper parried up into the air but the midfielder followed his shot in and was adjudged to have fouled the shot stopper.
Mick Cooke was visibly agitated by his side’s sloppy play, although they were playing with a makeshift rearguard and he was seen to be barking orders from the touchline while The Youths manager was a lot calmer.
The visitors started the second half much brighter and a free in from Broaders was fumbled by the Drogheda keeper and Paul Crowley was forced to swipe the ball behind. Philip Hand had been a real threat from dead balls and he nearly helped Hynes double his tally when he picked out the big striker from a free but Hynes couldn’t keep his effort down.
With 11 minutes to go things really picked up, first Drogheda should have scored when Gavin Brennan acrobatically kept the ball in play from a Hand delivery and he managed to guide it to the path of Hynes who, standing in-front of an open goal, clearly didn’t expect it and he nonchalantly side-footed the ball allowing Keegan to get back and palm it over.
Tiarnan Mulvenna had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, but Youths similarly had their chances, the best of which fell to Shane Nolan from a Dean Broaders deliver and he headed his effort right into the hands of Sava.
Cooke will be happy his side progressed, but the manner in which they did it will leave a lot to be desired.
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Stephen Quigley, Brian Gannon, Paul Crowley, Philip Hand; Ryan Brennan, John Sullivan (Declan O’Brien 59), Eric Foley, Gavin Brennan; Peter Hynes, Tiarnan Mulvenna.
Subs Not Used: Shane Finnegan, Cathal Brady, Sean Brennan, John Breen, Steven Watters, Connor O’Keefe
Booked: Quigley (74).
Wexford Youths: Aidan Keenan; James Darmody, Jamie Carr, CJ Browne, Shane Clarke; Thomas Croke, Shane Nolan, Eric Molloy (Joey Mulcahy 81), Dean Broaders (Danny Furlong 81); Tom Elmes, Glen Hawe.
Subs Not Used: Gary Delaney, Shaun Corcoran, Paul Malone, Chris Fennor, James Scallon
Booked: CJ Browne (51).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Extratime Man of the Match: Gavin Brennan (Drogheda United).