From Gerard Grimes in United Park
In a dramatic night in Drogheda, Bohemians piled the pressure on Drogheda United with a 4-1 win that included a hat-trick for Keith Ward. Both sides played out much of the second half with ten men each but it was the Gypsies who took all three points away with them from United Park.
Bohemians dominance began ten minutes in as Derek Pender’s ball into the box was met by the diving Ismahil Akinade only for Drogheda United goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness to tip it behind for a corner.
The visitors took the lead moments later however as Keith Ward picked up the ball and left unchallenged, his low strike from 25 yards found the bottom corner past the oustretched hand of McGuinness.
Keith Long’s side nearly doubled their lead a minute later as Akinade beat Conor Kane on the left and his cross found Dinny Corcoran but his first-time effort was headed off the line by Stephen Dunne.
Bohemians next effort came through captain with Pender linking up with Corcoran but he could only drag his shot from range well wide of the goal.
It was relentless pressure from Bohs’ who were walking through Drogheda with ease. Paddy Kavanagh was next to test McGuinness as he forced the ‘keeper into tipping his effort from out wide over the bar.
Drogheda failed to test Shane Supple in the first half with two corners being the most they earned. It was from those two corners that Bohs’ next chance came towards the end of the first half.
On the counter through Akinade on the left, he cut into the box but his effort was saved well by McGuinness.
Bohemians did however double three minutes from the half time break with a goal that was a carbon copy of the Akinade chance.
This time it was Keith Ward who was played in on the left and he slotted the ball under McGuinness for his and Bohs’ second of the night.
The visitors though were reduced to ten men on 52 minutes as Oscar Brennan was shown a second yellow for pulling back Jamie Hollywood as the Drogheda man looked to break through on goal.
Drogheda couldn’t exploit their man advantage though as they were then shown a red card of their own eight minutes later. Chris Mulhall was sent off for an off the ball incident involving defender Rob Cornwall.
From there, Bohs quickly made Drogheda pay and Ward completed his hattrick in style, firing an effort from the wing in off the far post to make it 3-0.
A minute later came a contender for goal of the season though as Dinny Corcoran, in space, let fly from all of 40 yards and his strike flew past McGuinness into the top corner.
Drogheda would get a goal back on 69 minutes as Sean Brennan slotted past Supple after being played through on goal by Thomas Byrne.
The Boynesiders had further chances to score through Wixted and Brennan but Supple was equal while Paddy Kavanagh hit the post late on for Bohs who eased to a deserved victory to move to within two points of fifth placed Bray Wanderers. Drogheda meanwhile remain rooted to last place and are now 12 points from safety with only six games remaining.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Shane Elworthy, Stephen Dunne, Dave Mulcahy (C), Conor Kane (Richie Purdy 28); Jack Bayly (Stephen Elliott 63), Luke Gallagher, Jamie Hollywood (Sean Brennan 58); Thomas Byrne, Chris Mulhall, Adam Wixted.
Subs not used: Harry Hogan (GK), Lloyd Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Mark Doyle.
Booked: Thomas Byrne (33).
Sent Off: Chris Mulhall (60).
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Derek Pender (C) (Dan Casey 71), Rob Cornwall, Warren O’Hora, Ian Morris; Oscar Brennan, Paddy Kavanagh, Keith Ward, Fuad Sule; Ismahil Akinade (Philip Gannon 58), Dinny Corcoran (Ciaran O’Connor 81).
Subs not used: Colin McCabe (GK), Dan Byrne, Cian McMullen, John Ross Wilson.
Booked: Oscar Brennan (37, 52).
Sent Off: Oscar Brennan (52).
Referee: Rob Hennessey.
Attendance: 700 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Keith Ward (Bohemians).