It’s advantage Drogheda after first leg of Setanta Cup semi-final
High-flying Sligo Rovers come crashing down and now face uphill battle to reach final
Drogheda’s David Cassidy and Sligo’s David Cawley clash in the first leg of the Setanta Sports Cup semi-final.
Drogheda 2 Sligo Rovers 0
Drogheda inflicted a first defeat of the season on high-flying Sligo with two wonderful first-half goals and will feel a tad unfortunate not to have won by more.
The Boynesiders have now accounted for Rovers in each of their last three meetings, where they didn't concede an away goal to the opposition, leaving them in pole position to advance to the Setanta Sports Cup final ahead of the return leg in Sligo on Monday next.
With five minutes gone, the woodwork denied Sligo after Aaron Greene saw his superb strike from the edge of the box come back off the angle of post and bar.
Drogheda created the next clear-cut opportunity when Gavin Brennan’s shot was deflected out for a corner which David Cassidy swung over for Declan O’Brien to head back across goal to Derek Prendergast whose goal-bound header was headed off the line by David Cawley.
Rovers then won a free on the left corner of the home side’s box which Danny Ventre drove over the wall for Gabriel Sava to save in unorthodox fashion with his boot.
Sligo striker Anthony Elding will want to forget his miss on 22 minutes when with the goal at his mercy he directed a header wide.
Having been let off the hook Drogheda took the lead a couple of minutes later from Alan Byrne’s long throw into the box that Gavin Peers could only help on to Gary O’Neill who with his back to goal sent an overhead kick to the net.
United grew in stature in the latter stages of the half as Gavin Brennan sent his volley from 25 yards narrowly over before the home side struck for deserved second with 10 minutes to go to the interval.
Sava sent a clearance up the park finding Gavin Brennan who directed the ball into the path of David Cassidy who deftly lifted his shot on the run over keeper Gary Rogers who was slightly off his line.
As the half wore on the visitors huffed and puffed rarely troubling United who coped comfortably with anything Rovers had to offer. Elding met Pascal Millien’s corner at the back post with his head but Sava was on hand to make the stop and from a Lee Lynch corner Gavin Peers was well off target with his header.
But it was Drogheda who should have put this tie beyond Sligo in the final minute when Brian Gannon crossed for Ryan Brennan to head just past the post.