Date: 7:45 p.m. Oct. 30, 2009
Venue: United Park
Ref: Anthony Buttimer
Att: 1,000 (est)
Former Drogheda fan favourite turned villain Declan O’Brien opened the scoring two minutes into the second half before assisting in Ryan Guy’s winner minutes later. The controversial forward muted his goal celebration but this didn’t stop the Drogheda fans showing their displeasure with their former stalwart.
Adding injury to insult for Alan Mathews side was the dismissal of James Chambers on 93 minutes for an alleged stamp on Ryan Guy. The card will see the midfielder suspended for the last game of the season away to Sligo however it is not expected to keep him from the playoffs.
Drogheda got off to the perfect start and opened the scoring after a mere six minutes, James Chambers getting his seventh goal of the season. A combination of Eric and Brendan McGill (no relation) linking up to play a ball to the back post where Chambers stole in to stab the ball home.
Pats drew level on 49 minutes, moments before netting they hit the post twice. Mark Quigley saw his goalbound shot pushed on to the right hand post by Skinner and then Jason Gavin hit the inside of the left hand post with a headed shot which all the ground thought was in.
O’Brien stole in-between McNally and Kenna to get on the end of a Gareth O’Connor cross and steer the ball home for Pats equaliser, then the striker linked up with the subdued Ryan Guy and a one two between the players put Guy free in the box and the winger made no mistake in hitting the roof of the net.
After recent performances it seemed to be another one of those nights for the Dublin side as they were rocked with another early goal and seemed to be on a hiding to nothing especially when Drogheda almost doubled their lead on 15 minutes.
Brendan McGill from the right sent in an inviting corner which Brian King, standing in front of Brendan Clarke, almost steered the ball home as he beat the keeper to the ball but his flick just went wide.
Pats first real chance came on 28 minutes, In a move built from the back Enda Stevens broke up a promising Drogheda attack and then quickly moved the ball through the middle of the park where David Partridge took up possession just outside the Drogheda box and what seemed to be a pass to the Drogheda keeper Skinner actually was a deft through ball as Declan O'Brien came racing through and his slide almost diverted the ball past the Drogheda shot stopper, but Pats are showing signs of promise.
Drogheda had their chances but failed to take them, Ross Gaynor and Brendan McGill going close, but it was the visitors who were on the up as the half ended. Their best chances falling to Stuart Byrne, both originating from Bobby Ryan set pieces. The first saw Ryan’s free looped in where Stevens headed down and Byrne snapped a sidefooted shot at the goal forcing Skinner into a good reflex save. And almost immediately after Ryan from the same position sent in another looping ball which was cleared only for Stevens to cross in and Byrne saw his head skim the far post and go wide.
After their opening spell in the second half Pats seemed to settle down and were more content with hitting the home side on the counter as O’Brien ran the attack and always seemed to threaten a second goal.
With seven minutes remaining Pats had a chance to kill the game off as on a counter Guy was set free on the right and having forced Skinner to come out he dragged his shot wide, but racing from deep in midfield was O’Brien who lunged from a distance and almost turned the ball into the empty net.
Drogheda were given two chances in the last three minutes but couldn’t level matters as they now have to wait to see who they will meet in the relegation playoffs.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Ian Ryan, Alan McNally, Conor Kenna, Eoghan Osborne (Guy Bates 82); Brendan McGill (Robbie Martin 75), Paul Crowley (Paul Shiels 69), James Chambers, Eric McGill, Brian King, Ross Gaynor.
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Damian Lynch, Jason Gavin, David Partridge, Enda Stevens, Ryan Guy, Gareth O'Connor, Stuart Byrne, 14 Bobby Ryan, Declan O'Brien (Glen Fitzpatrick 86), Mark Quigley.
Extratime Man Of The Match: Declan O’Brien. Ran the Pats attack and was gracious in victory handling all the abuse he received very professionally.