Drogheda in with a fighting chance

 

Drogheda United produced a stunning second half performance to claim their first league victory since November 12th. What's more, they did it the hard way, finishing the game with only nine men after Darren O'Keeffe and goal scorer, Greg O'Dowd were sent off.

O'Keeffe's dismissal - his third of the season - following an off-the-ball altercation with John Frost, came at the end of a thoroughly forgettable, if slightly ill-tempered first half, during which referee, Hugh Byrne, dished out five yellow cards (he gave six in total), three of which went to the visitors.

That should have handed the initiative to Waterford. Instead it was the Boynesiders who took over and deservedly went ahead nine minutes into the second half.

John Butler, getting a rare start for Eddie May's side, went clear and drew two defenders before threading the ball to O'Dowd, who slid it under the advancing Michael Devine.

James Impey, introduced after the break, almost made it 2-0 shortly afterwards, just missing the target from 20 yards.

But from then until the final whistle, it was predictably all Waterford as the home side shut up shop. It took a last gasp clearance by Damien Maher to keep the lead intact when Gareth Byrne failed to hold a Barry Wood shot 11 minutes from time.

And when O'Dowd saw red four minutes later for a second bookable offence, the visitors' chances of grabbing an all-important equaliser looked to have increased immeasurably. However, they were unable to find a way past the massed ranks of claret and blue jerseys as the home side held out for a win which gives them at least a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.

DROGHEDA UTD: Byrne, A Murphy, Boyle, Foley, Maher, O'Keeffe, McNulty, C Murphy, Butler, O'Dowd, Cronin. Subs: Impey for Cronin (88 mins), McCann for Butler (88 mins).

WATERFORD UTD: Devine, Smith, Frost, Reynolds, Riordan, Whittle, Kirby, Gannon, Wood, Markey, Griffin. Subs: D McGrath for Griffin (67 mins).

Referee: H Byrne (Dublin).