Date: 7:45 p.m. April 17, 2009
Venue: Richmond Park
Goals from Andy Haran and Stuart Byrne were enough to spread a bit of spring time cheer around Inchicore as the home side showed something of the form that has been lacking from their game this season and plunged the Drogs further into the relegation mire, despite the exuberant ending created by Mark Duggan’s late goal.
Kenna set out his team in an offensive 4-3-3 formation while his counterpart Alan Matthews opted for a containing 4-5-1 though in truth neither side flew out of the traps.
However, once Alan Cawley began to exert his control on proceedings, linking well with the alert Mark Quigley, Pat’s began to take control, utilising the pace of Ryan Guy at every opportunity.
Pat’s took the lead on 12 minutes when under no real pressure in his own penalty area, Eoghan Osbourne played a sloppy pass to no one in particular and with the away defence were caught flat footed, Haran reacted quickest to pass the ball in to an empty net.
Pat’s formation was causing huge problems for Drogheda and they looked like scoring every time they moved forward. Two powerful Jason Gavin headers from dangerous Cawley deliveries went narrowly wide.
Drogheda’s spirit was not to be diminished however and continued with their aggressive approach as they battled their way back in to the game. Most of the Richmond Park crowd thought they had equalised when on 35 minutes a Brian King header rippled Gary Roger’s side netting after Jamie Duffy’s excellent cross.
Attacks, after that, came and went and amounted to precious little. Pat’s took their one nil advantage into the half-time break.
Rookie striker William Woods replaced Paul Shields at half-time as Alan Matthews went for a more attack minded 4-4-2 approach.
Though it was Pat’s who had the first real opportunity of the half. A Quigley pass forward fed the advancing Ryan Guy who looked certain to score but took so long to set himself that his shot was blocked en route to goal and bounced harmlessly back to Steve Williams.
Kenna’s team were not to be denied and on 55 minutes, Gavin’s long free kick was cleverly chested down by Mark Quigley into the path of the on rushing Stuart Byrne's and the ex-Drogheda man’s low shot found Steve William's right hand corner brilliantly.
Another dead ball delivery from caused panic in the Drogheda box but Gavin could only head wide at the Shed end.
The game seemed to be heading tamely towards it’s conclusion until a moment of brilliance from the exciting Jamie Duffy saw him make a beeline for the Pat’s goal and unleashed a wicked shot from the apex of the penalty box which Rogers did amazingly to finger tip wide.
Pat’s didn’t heed the warning and more excellent play from Duffy down the right saw him cross deep to the back post and Mark Duggan gleefully planted his header past Rogers to set the game up for an exciting conclusion.
At this point the electric Duffy was beginning to give Jamie Harris the run around and when his cross rebounded to the exciting substitute Woods a mishit shot fell perfectly into the path of goal scorer Duggan but with the whites of the posts in his eyes he could only managed to direct his effort wide.
Everyone of a Pat’s persuasion looked nervous not least their manager Jeff Kenna who willed the full time whistle to come and when it did Kenna and the home support blew a mighty sigh of relief.
Drogheda have some exciting youngsters but for them and their vociferous support the rest of the season is looking very bleak while St.Pat’s and manager Kenna live to fight another day.
St Patrick's Athletic: Gary Rogers, Stephen Maher (David Fagan, 81), Jamie Harris, Jason Gavin, Enda Stevens, Stuart Byrne, Damian Lynch, Alan Cawley, Ryan Guy, Mark Quigley, Andy Haran (Kyle Moran, 60) Subs Not Used: Brendan Clarke, Gareth O’Connor, Darragh Ryan,
Drogheda United: Steve Williams, James Chambers, Eoghan Osbourne, Connor Kenna, Ian Ryan, Paul Shields ( William Woods,h/t), Brian King (Alan McNally, 70) Gavin Whelan, Jamie Duffy, Paul Crowley (Mark Samon, 59), Mark Duggan Subs Not Used: Paul Skinner, Mick Foley
Extrtaime.ie Man of the Match: Damian Lynch. Calmness personified
Referee: Alan Kelly