Gerard Grimes reports from United Park
First-half goals from trialist Mamadou Guirassy and Eoin Toal gave Derry City a 2-0 victory over Drogheda United in Tuesday’s pre-season friendly at United Park.
Derry looked dangerous from the off and opened the scoring with the first chance of the game in the fifth minute.
A lapse in concentration at the back by Drogheda allowed Guirassy in on goal and one-on-one with Paul Skinner, he slotted past the Drogheda keeper to give the Candystripes the lead.
Derry kept pressing as Drogheda were limited to long-range efforts from Eoin McPhillips and Sean Brennan and the visitors doubled their lead on 20 minutes.
Declan Devine’s men won a succession of corners, first as Sean Trimble got across to boot the ball out of play as Guirassy set himself to shoot.
Kevin Farragher then headed clear off the line from the first corner, heading Eoin Toal’s header off the line after Barry McNamee had whipped the ball into the box.
Drogheda failed to clear the following corner after blocking Derry’s first effort on the line and Eoin Toal reacted quickest to finish into the bottom corner and double the lead.
Drogheda showed signs of improvement as the half progressed as Chris Lyons and Thomas Byrne linked up.
The first effort was blocked but the ball fell to Steven Nolan, who saw his first-time volley bounce wide of Peter Cherrie’s far post.
Guirassy was at the centre of everything Derry did going forward in the first half and he almost grabbed a second towards the end of the half.
After good work by Mark Russell on the left, Guirassy got the ball out his feet and looked for the far corner, only for James Brown to block in the six-yard box.
Guirassy went close again soon after as he took the ball around Trimble and looked to bend it into the far top corner, but his effort was just too high.
Guirassy turned provider just before half time as he backheeled into the path of the onrushing Sloggett, who took the ball around a defender, but Skinner was there to block and gather his effort.
The second half, with much-changed sides, saw few chances, but Derry had the first with Sloggett’s low drive gathered by Gratzer.
Aidy Delap was gifted a chance with 15 minutes to play after a Drogheda defender missed a challenge, allowing Delap in one-on-one who Gratzer, who managed to deny the Derry substitute with a great save.
Gratzer was called into action again with the last chance of the game as he dove to his right to deny Derry what looked like a certain third goal.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Luke Heeney, Sean Trimble, Kevin Farragher, James Brown; Sean Brennan (C), Eoin McPhillips, Thomas Byrne; Adam Wixted, Stephen Nolan, Chris Lyons.
Drogheda United Second Half: Luca Gratzer; Luke Heeney (Marty Walsh), Luke Gallagher (C), Sean Trimble, James Brown (John Barry); Mark Hughes, Cian Kavanagh; Jordan Adeyemo, Ross Murtagh, Mark Doyle; Levi Boardman.
Unused Sub: Sean Cronin.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie; Ciaran Coll, Ally Gilchrist, Eoin Toal, Josh Kerr; Greg Sloggett, Ciaron Harkin; Jamie McDonagh, Barry McNamee (C), Mark Russell; Mamadou Guirassy.
Derry City Second Half: Peter Cherrie (Nathan Gartside); Josh Kerr (Shane McNamee), Eoin Toal, Patrick McClean, Ciaran Coll (Cathal Farren); Mark Russell (Evan Tweed), Ciaron Harkin, Greg Sloggett (Rhys McDermott), Aidy Delap; David Parkhouse, Mamadou Guirassy (Ronan McKinley).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Mamadou Guirassy (Derry City).