Date: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 4, 2009
Venue: United Park
Ref: Neil Doyle
Att: 1,000 (est)
The home side took the lead against the run of play with a somewhat fortunate penalty, however Sligo hit back minutes later before taking the lead in the second half and looked to be securing all three points until Drogheda’s left back Scott Gibb popped up to grab the equaliser on the 82nd minute.
Drogheda took the lead on 20 minutes from the penalty spot, the move began with Jamie Duffy who muscled his way into the box and just as he was about to be forced off the ball he poked it into the box, where Robbie Martin reacted first before being brought down by Martin Camano. James Chambers converted the spot kick to give the Drogs a lead they didn’t deserve.
Sligo, to their credit, didn’t let their heads drop and got their reward less than seven minutes later when the Drogheda defence fell asleep. Having failed to properly clear their lines while under very little pressure, Drogheda provided Brian Cash with possession and space to dribble down the right where he sent a low ball in across the goal for Danny Ventre to smash home from 15 yards out.
The Bit O’Red then hit the front, a goal which always looked to be coming, and just after the hour mark they got their reward. And it was that man Cretaro who jinked around the Drogheda defence before holding the ball up for the on rushing Morrisson and providing the perfect pass for the sub to shoot low past Williams at his near post.
Drogheda never seemed to be able to get back into it, but after a flurry of corners they equalised. Ross Gaynor sent in a ball from the right hand side which the Sligo defence failed to deal with and it bounced in front of Scott Gibb at the back post, who hit it on the half volley and buried it past Richard Brush. It was Gibb's first goal for the club and one that could prove to be very valuable.
From then it looked like Drogheda would go on to take a well-needed win but it was not to be as a draw was probably as much as they deserved. Paul Cook can feel somewhat aggrieved at the result as Sligo were by far the hungrier and more urgent side.
Rafael Cretaro proved to be every bit the handful he has been in recent games, as in the space of 10 minutes he had Sligo’s first two chances on goal. The Boynesiders seemed to attempt to boss the game by putting in some heavy tackles, but referee Neil Doyle was having none of it and penalised Alan McNally for a strong challenge early on.
But Sligo were just looking more clinical side, Matthew Blinkhorn and Brian Cash were getting to the balls first and feeding them into the strikeforce of Cretaro and Eoin Doyle.
Drogheda’s first effort came after 13 minutes when Robbie Clarke steamed down the left wing and sent in a swerving cross which was met by the head of Robbie Martin but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
A through ball to Raf on 33 minutes saw the striker lift his head and just as he was about to shoot Alan McNally came steaming through and put in a great tackle to dispossess him.
The second half produced a flurry of yellow cards as it looked like the referee was killing the momentum of the game. With recent scandals across the water fresh in everyone's miinds, Eric McGill reaped some of the repercussions as he was carded for an apparent dive on 55 minutes.
Both sides had chances to win in the last five or so minutes, but a draw seems to be a little generous for the Boynesiders and a little harsh on the visitors.
Drogheda United: Steve Williams; Scott Gibb, Alan McNally, Conor Kenna, Robbie Clarke (Robbie Farrell 76min); Brendan McGill, James Chambers, Eric McGill (Paul Shiels 68min), Ross Gaynor; Jamie Duffy, Robbie Martin.
Subs not used: Guy Bates, Brian King, Paul Skinner.
Booked: E McGill.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Martin Camano (Richie Ryan 70min), Joe Kendrick; Brian Cash, Conor O'Grady, Danny Ventre, Eoin Doyle (Owen Morrison 62min); Matthew Blinkhorn, Raffael Cretaro ( Dean Marshall 86).
Subs not used: Rob Turner, Ciaran Kelly.
Booked: Keane, Kendrick, Peers.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).
Extratime Man Of The Match: Raffaele Cretaro – The striker was at the heart of the Sligo attack and despite being the smallest guy on the pitch he put in some good headed efforts.