Brennan's winner gives Drogheda the edge
Drogheda Utd 3 Portadown 2An entertaining affair between two sides committed to attacking football sees this two-legged tie finely poised after Drogheda edged it by the odd goal in five.
Drogheda made a dream start taking the lead after eight minutes when Stephen Quigley’s mishit shot fell to at Ryan Brennan’s feet and he cracked the ball to the net.
Five minutes later two of United’s new boys combined to score after Gary O’Neill picked out Paul O’Connor who rifled his shot past goalkeeper Jamie McArdle.
O’Neill and O’Connor both went close before Portadown eventually settled down.
Gary Twigg saw his first effort shave the post for the visitors and was then denied by Michael Schlingerman in the Drogheda goal.
The Irish league side pulled a goal back in the 25th minute as Aaron Burns guided a header home. The equaliser came after 43 minutes when captain Kevin Braniff picked up possession on the left before unleashing a wonder strike from 25 yards into the top corner.
Drogheda got the winner with an hour gone when the Brennan brothers Ryan and Gavin combined for the latter to apply the vital finish.
DROGHEDA UTD: Schlingerman, Quigley, Prendergast, O’Connor, Brady (Rusk, 65 mins), R Brennan, O’Neill (O’Brien, 70 mins), G Brennan, Grimes, Foley, Byrne. PORTADOWN: McArdle, Andrew Burns, Ramsey, Breen, Redman, Mackle (Mouncey, 65 mins), Rooney (McCafferty, 65 mins), Aaron Burns, Murray, Twigg, Braniff. Referee: T Marshall (Irvinstown)