Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
Drogheda United closed the gap to league leaders UCD to four points with a 2-1 win over Cobh Ramblers at United Park on Friday evening.
It was Cobh who had the first chance of the game as Matthew Lamb fired over the bar with an effort from all of 30 yards.
Drogheda grew into the game and looked threatening from set pieces throughout and had a penalty appeal waved away on 10 minutes after Chris Lyons went down in the box following Deasy’s long throw.
The first chance for the home side came shortly after as Gareth McCaffrey dispossessed a Cobh player but his low effort was gathered easily by Paul Hunt.
Drogheda took the lead on fifteen minutes though, and it came from a corner kick. Purdy’s corner towards the near post was headed goalwards, blocked, rose into the air and fell kindly for Ciaran Kelly to head home from close range for his fourth goal of the season.
Cobh almost equalised just three minutes later though as the ball dropped in front of Dave Hurley, and from 30 yards out, his volley beat Skinner but crashed back off the crossbar before being cleared by the Drogheda defence.
The visitors found the equaliser from their next attack though as referee John McLaughlin awarded Cobh a penalty, having adjudged Kealan Dillon to have handballed in the box.
Anthony McAlavey stepped up to take the penalty and sent Drogheda goalkeeper Paul Skinner the wrong way.
Both sides had chances to take the lead before the break with Cobh’s coming from a corner as Drogheda only half cleared the delivery to Denzil Fernandes.
Fernandes, on the edge of the box, took a touch to set himself and fired low through the crowded box but Skinner was equal to it.
On 44 minutes, a Cobh mistake gifted Lyons the ball but his pass to Doyle was slow and allowed defenders to get back to cover.
When Doyle did receive it, he played in Duffy, who took on his man and looked to find the far corner but shot narrowly wide, with Doyle also not able to reach it to tap home at the back post.
Drogheda’s final effort of the half came in injury time as Gareth McCaffrey burst forward from midfield, found space and forced Hunt into a good save down to his right.
The ball did then hit the head of Lyons from Hunt’s palmed save but it came at the forward too quick for him to be able to direct the ball goalwards.
Cobh came out the brighter of the two sides in the second half, having three chances in quick succession, including Jaze Kabia’s blocked effort.
They were denied the lead in the 48th minute by a terrific save by Skinner as he managed to keep out James McSweeney’s header from a corner.
Drogheda hit back at Cobh and almost hit the front on 51 minutes as Lyons let fly on his left from the edge of the box but again Hunt got a hand to the effort and sent it back in the direction of a Drogheda player.
This time, Duffy could direct the header goalwards but it was straight at Hunt who gathered the rebound.
The home side hit the front three minutes later though as Purdy’s corner wasn’t cleared, fell to captain Luke Gallagher at the back post and his effort was too strong for Hunt to keep out.
Hunt was again called into action with twenty minutes or normal to play as Duffy’s strike instead found Lyons inside the box, he looked to curl the ball into the far corner, only to be denied by a brilliant save by the diving Hunt’s outstretched hand.
Skinner was next to be called into action, a minute later as he again denied Cobh centre-back James McSweeney from close range, this time tipping his header over the bar.
A water break with sixteen minutes to play and several substitutions broke up the flow of play somewhat but Cobh went close to finding a late equaliser, deep in injury time.
In the 94th minute, a Cobh corner beat everyone in the Drogheda box and found Ben O’Riordan at the back post but he could only find the side netting as Drogheda hung on for a 2-1 victory.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher (C), Kevin Farragher, Ciaran Kelly; Kealan Dillon, Richie Purdy (Victor Ekanem 91’); Lee Duffy (William Hondermarck (69’), Gareth McCaffrey, Mark Doyle (Eoin McPhillips 87’); Chris Lyons.
Unused Subs: Luca Gratzer (GK), Lloyd Buckley, Sean Cronin, Jordan Adeyemo.
Booked: Ciaran Kelly (35’).
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt (C); Kevin Taylor, James McSweeney, Ben O’Riordan, Matthew Lamb; Denzil Fernandes, Pierce Phillips, Stephen Christopher, Dave Hurley; Anthony McAlavey; Jaze Kabia.
Unused Subs: Adam Mylod (GK), Andrew Wall, Craig Donnellan.
Booked: Jaze Kabia (66’), Ben O’Riordan (94’).
Referee: John McLaughlin.
Attendance: 350 (est).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Colm Deasy (Drogheda United).