Date: 7:45 p.m. July 5, 2010
Venue: Oriel Park
The game opened at a strangely pedestrian pace for a local derby and Drogheda stunned the home support by taking the lead in the eighth minute with their first meaningful attack. Kevin Ross and Eoghan Osbourne worked room on the left hand side for the latter to swing in a cross to the centre. John Flood had oceans of room to take the ball down and slot past a helpless but no doubt infuriated Matt Gregg from eight yards.
The game fell into a bit of a lull as the overcrowded midfield became a battle ground with neither team able to find their men. The Lilywhites roused themselves to equalise with a sublime goal in the 22nd minute. A Drogheda attack broke down and Neale Fenn found himself at the front of a four on two break out. His ball to Tiarnan Mulvenna on the right wing was crossed with the minimum of fuss but with the maximum accuracy to the unmarked Stephen McDonnell to head home from ten yards to the top corner.
The game again fell into a battle of wills as misplaced passes became the norm. It came as a bit of a shock that a lovely weighted pass from Fahrudin Kudozovic sent Mulvenna scampering behind the Drogs backline. His effort with the outside of his right foot just had enough on it to dribble over the line and defeat the charge of the desperate Drogheda defenders as they tried to clear their lines.
The home fans would have been hoping that Dundalk would push on after the break and try to make the game safe. The Drogs however had other ideas as they pushed Dundalk back and bossed the second half. If Jamie Duffy had been on target with a near post header on 77 minutes instead of sending it a foot wide of the post they would have claimed a deserved equaliser. However it was not to be, so despite a valiant second half effort the Drogheda boys head back down the M1 with nothing to show for their efforts but the warm applause of the travelling fans.
Next up for Dundalk is the return leg of their Europa Cup qualifier against CS Grevenmacher and the Drogs will face a home game against Bohs.
Dundalk: Matt Gregg; Shaun Kelly, Tom Miller, Wayne Hatswell, Nathan Murphy; Stephen Maher, Alan Cawley, Stephen McDonnell (Johnny Breen 82); Tiarnan Mulvenna, Neale Fenn, Fahrudin Kudozovic.
Subs not used: Michael Cooney, Mark Griffin, Cathal Bellew, John Smyth
Drogheda United: Paul Murphy, Eoghan Osbourne, Joe Kendrick, Alan McNally, Eric McGill; Paul Crowley, Garreth O’Connor, Mick Daly, Ryan Brennan, Kevin Ross (Jamie Duffy 54); John Flood.
Subs not used: Paul Skinner, Damian Brennan, Glen Fitzpatrick, Com Smyth
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Wayne Hatswell.
Referee: Declan Hanney