Date: 7:45 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009
Venue: United Park
Att: 500 (est)
The win moves Alan Mathews men into a position of relative safety as Bray are four points adrift with only two games to play, needing an unlikely two wins to overhaul the Boynesiders. This was a merited victory for Drogheda, who found joy in abundance on the flanks and had the game's most influential figure in the opening goalscorer, Brendan McGill.
Drogheda made a vibrant start to the contest and pressed Galway back from the opening moments. Ross Gaynor's sharp movement and energy caused Garry Breen and Shane Guthrie bother, while Brian King and Brendan McGill were seeing a lot of the ball on either flank. Gaynor volleyed left and wide on two minutes and King snatched at a glorious chance, firing over from close range in the 11th minute.
Galway's attacking prowess was minimal, but Aaron Greene did spark a moment of consternation when he beat the offside trap on the right and scampered clear, although his cross failed to pick out the lurking Vinny Faherty. James Chambers, back at right back after a spell in the Drogheda midfield ranks, whipped in what should have been a goal assist on 18 minutes but no net-finding touch could be applied.
Galway were growing into the game, though, and a neat passage involving recent U21 debutant Seamus Connneely and Cian McBrien gave Alan Murphy a chance to fire goalwards but his deflected effort crept wide. McBrien then latched onto a Faherty flick on after some defensive hesitancy and smacked the advertising hoardings just to the left of Paul Skinner's post.
Gaynor then glanced a header wide before King did similarly from a much better position. Gaynor fired in his side's first shot on target on 35 but it was a routine save for Ryan. Three minutes later, though, Ryan was beaten when Robbie Clarke's cross picked out Brendan McGill for a volley which wobbled over the line despite Ryan's attempted save and Breen's desperate effort to scramble clear.
Galway began the second half in a more assured manner and Faherty drew a fine save from Skinner from a Davoren corner. Greene's pace was again causing jitters and he should have equalised on 53 but shot low and hard at Skinner's legs when a shot across the goal looked the better option. Conneely then did well down the right flank and cut back for Murphy, who tried to find the top corner but missed by a yard.
The good start crumbled to dust, though, when Brendan McGill did very well to dig out a cross from the right corner which fell perfectly for the inrushing Paul Crowley, who beat Ryan from six yards. The elation of the second goal drove the home side on and they quickly had the three points safely nestling in their grasp when Gaynor floated over a free that Ian Ryan met with a solid header.
From there to the finish, the game took on a surreal nature, as Galway created a number of chances but couldn't find a goal to snatch a glimmer of hope. Paul Shiels added the icing on the cake in injury time with a brisk strike from outside the box which took the crowd by surprise as it flew back out after rebounding off the hoarding behind the net.
It was a fitting finale to Drogheda's biggest win of the season, one which should see them clear of the threat of automatic relegation. For Galway, they must regroup for the easy task of taking on the reigning champions on Friday night.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; James Chambers, Ian Ryan, Alan McNally, Robbie Clarke (Eoghan Osborne, 80); Brendan McGill (Guy Bates, 80), Paul Crowley (Paul Shiels, 70), Eric McGill, Brian King; Jamie Duffy, Ross Gaynor.
Subs not Used: Steve Williams, Scott Gibb.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Seamus Conneely, Shane Guthrie, Garry Breen, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Paul Sinnott, 66); Cian McBrien, Alan Murphy, Sean Kelly (Dave Cooke, 66), Derek O'Brien; Aaron Greene (Jason Molloy, 70), Vinny Faherty.
Subs not Used: Ger Hanley, Shane Fitzgerald.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Brendan McGill.
Referee: Tom Connolly.