A first half strike from Tiernan Mulvenna was enough to secure victory for Drogheda United and inch Mick Cooke’s men closer to safety.
Both sides were fully aware of how much was at stake going into this one which resulted in a tight opening with possession switching between the two sides frequently. Indeed the only talking point early on was the surprise inclusion of Korean duo Yob Son and Jinlu Kim in Sean Connor’s side.
However it wasn’t long before the two goalkeepers were called into action. First Drogheda’s Steven Trimble saved well from a Bobby Ryan shot after the winger went past full back Stephen Quigley with ease. Five minutes later Gavin Brennan headed just over Conor Wynn’s crossbar in what was the host’s first half-decent chance.
Kim showed just what he was capable of on 16 minutes when he capitalised on a Quigley error and raced into the Drogheda box. His pull back found striker Alan Murphy but his low shot was well saved.
Drogheda were beginning to get a strangle hold on the game and took the lead after 20 minutes. Stephen Quigley, atoning for his earlier transgressions, played an inch perfect floated pass into Tiernan Mulvenna’s path. The striker raced in on goal and stroked past Wynn.
After this it was largely one-way traffic for the remainder of the half with Lee Lynch and Peter McMahon edging it in the midfield battle. Time and time again the two worked the ball wide with Brian Gannon potting in a number of dangerous crosses.
Galway had some chances too but these were very much limited to counter attacks on the break and apart from Murphy’s early effort, never really threatened Steven Trimble’s goal.
In the opening phases of the second half Galway looked the sharper and for a period it seemed the Tribesmen were going to make the hosts pay for not taking their first half chances. Forward Alan Murphy went close again as he got on the end of Evan Kelly’s cross. However it was Galway’s only notable chance and Drogheda quickly retook control.
Indeed on 58 minutes the hosts put together one of the moves of the game as Mulvenna dummied Brennan’s infield pass allowing the ball roll through to Peter McMahon. He in turn fed Brian Gannon on the edge of the Galway box. He fired at goal but Wynn saved well before collecting White’s tame rebounded header.
It was a sign of what Mick Cooke’s men were capable of and Gavin Brennan was at the heart of another great chance six minutes later. This time he crossed for Mulvenna whose first header was saved by Wynn on the edge of the box before his second effort rolled wide.
Galway’s job to find a way back into the game was made all the harder when an aerial clash between Brennan and debutant Yob Son resulted in a red card for the Korean. After that, the visitors were always fighting a losing battle.
Drogheda could and certainly should have extended their lead as the game entered the final 20 minutes but spurned a host of chances. If Peter McMahon had played the pass to Mulvenna, completely unmarked in the box, sooner, the striker surely would have scored.
Substitute Jordan White, Mulvenna and Lee Lynch all could have grabbed a goal late on. However Mick Cooke will know the win is all that matters and Mulvenna’s second half goal deservedly condemned Sean Connor’s men to their 18th straight defeat. Indeed, moments after the game, the Galway United Management Committee issued a vote of no confidence in their boss as the Galway nightmare intensifies.
Drogheda United: Steven Trimble; Stephen Quigley, Alan McNally, Dave Rogers, Philip Hand; Peter McMahon, Brian Gannon, Lee Lynch, Gavin Brennan; Dinny Corcoran (Jordan White, 51), Tiernan Mulvenna
Subs not used: Cillian Thompson, Mark O'Brien, Robbie Gaul, Shane Dolan, Robbie Clarke, Ciaran Bizzell.
Bookings: Gannon (79).
Galway United: Conor Wynn; Evan Preston-Kelly, Eric Browne, Stephen Walsh, Yob Son; Paul Sinnott, Bobby Ryan, Gary Kelly, Jin Gu Kim; Ronan Cauldwell, Alan Murphy.
Subs not used: Oscar Sibanda, Eric Holland, Rory Gartlan, Darragh Duggan.
Bookings: Preston-Kelly (80)
Sent Off: Yob Son (70).
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Attendance: 500 (estimate).
Extratime.ie man of the match: Tiernan Mulvenna.