Date: 7:45 p.m. June 19, 2009
Venue: United Park
Shane Barrett 31' -
Barrett made the breakthrough after Jamie Duffy broke down the wing and played a low ball across the box which the striker latched on to and turned Jason Gavin before smashing past Gary Rogers
In what was an unfortunate clash Pats’ Mark Quigley was taken off after 38 minutes with what turned out to be a triple fracture in his jaw after a clash with Paul Skinner. A high ball into the Drogheda box was chased down by Quigley and allowed bounce, however Skinner misjudged the bounce and in his attempt to clear he leapt high and seemed to catch the midfielder with his knee.
It was a clash of formations as neither side lined out in the orthodox 4-4-2, Alan Matthews sent his team out in the Christmas Tree style of 3-1-4-2, while Kenna opted for the even more unorthodox 4-1-4-1 formation and it was Matthews who was victorious in the managerial chess game.
The first shot of the game came on 19 minutes as John Lester brought down Jamie Duffy 25 yards out and James Chambers stepped up to curl a shot in that almost wrong footed Rogers due to the strong cross field breeze and extreme curl.
Six minutes later Drogheda should have taken the lead as Brian King skinned Stephen Maher down the right wing and with Robbie Martin unmarked in the Pats box the winger floated a cross in, but it was too high and Martin could only manage to head the ball skywards.
Pats were akin to eleven strangers playing together as there seemed to be no coordination or cohesiveness to their play and rather than utilising their strong midfield they pumped the ball into the Drogheda box were Connor Kenna and Alan McNally had no problem dealing with these frivolous attacks.
Drogheda hit a purple patch minutes before the interval as they had three shots on target within the space of a minute. First a James Chambers freekick on the edge of the area rounded the wall and forced Rogers into a low save to turn the ball behind. From the resultant corner Alan Mcnally produced an audacious overhead kick which was turned over by Rogers and then once again Rogers prevented Barrett from getting his second.
Pats came more into the game in the second half, as three games in six days seemed to take it’s toll on an ever tiring Drogheda, although Paul Shiels and Jamie Duffy worked right until the final whistle.
It was the grit and determination by the Boynesiders the saw them through the Pats fightback as Jamie Harris went close twice, both free headers directed just wide of Paul Skinners goal. However Alan McNally almost put his side further ahead after 50 minutes when once again James Chambers sent in a perfect delivery from a corner and McNally rose highest only to see his header cleared off the line by halftime sub Gareth O’Connor, who was on for former Drog John Lester.
Pats had their best chance on 71 minutes when in a rare error Kenna failed to properly head the ball clear and handed possession to O’Connor who sent a cross into the back post where a shot by Jamie Harris seemed to be blocked by a lunging tackle from Duffy and it also seemed as if the Drogheda player handled the ball, but all protestations were waved away and a goal kick was awarded.
Skinner saved McNally some embarrassment when on 78 minutes Bobby Ryan beat Ian Ryan (no relation) down the left wing and he hooked a ball into the box that McNally attempted to hack away but his kick skewed backwards and it forced Skinner into a somewhat acrobatic save.
Drogheda are now just above Bray on goal difference having taken 12 points from the last eight games. The final whistle at United Park sparked scenes of joy akin to those seen at a Cup final as the win proves just how important the club and Premier Division football are to the town.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner, Ian Ryan, Robert Clarke, Connor Kenna, Alan McNally, Paul Shiels, Brian King, James Chambers, Jamie Duffy, Robert Martin (David O’Connor 90), Shane Barrett (William Woods 88). Subs Not Used: Joe Flanagan, Mark Salmon, Eoghan Osborne. (3-1-4-2)
St Pats: Gary Rogers, Stephen Maher, Noel Haverty, David Partridge, Enda Stevens, John Lester (Gareth O’Connor 46), Jamie Harris, Stuart Byrne, Bobby Ryan (Glen Fitzpatrick 84), Mark Quigley (Kyle Moran 38), Jason Gavin.
Referee: M Gough
Extratime Man Of The Match: Hard to pick from a Drogheda side who showed serious character but Paul Shiels made many important tackles and won balls he had no right to go for.