Leech rescues 10-man Drogheda with late strike


Drogheda Utd - 1 Longford Town - 1: Mark Leech struck three minutes into injury time to earn 10-man Drogheda a point at United Park yesterday. Longford had grabbed a scarcely deserved lead from a Barry Ferguson penalty with 16 minutes remaining.

Drogheda manager Paul Doolin handed debuts to two of his transfer-window signings, Paul Keegan and Keith Fahey.

The first real chance came after 22 minutes when Keegan played the ball over the top to Fahey but his cross was too high for Declan O'Brien.

Four minutes later the home side almost scored when Gavin Whelan's shot took a deflection on the way over Stephen O'Brien's crossbar. O'Brien had to be at his alert best when Fahey's corner was met full-on by the head of Jermaine Sandvliet.

Drogheda did most of the pressing early in the second half. though with little reward, and on the hour, Doolin introduced Leech. However, Longford began to grow in confidence and with only their second attack of the half grabbed the lead.

Graham Gartland was adjudged to have handled on the line and was subsequently shown the red card. Ferguson gave Dan Connor no chance from the spot-kick.

Longford almost grabbed a second two minutes later but Alan Cawley's piledriver was tipped over by Connor.

All seemed lost for the home side before Leech powered home a low shot from 25 yards.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Connor; Lynch, Webb, Keegan, Malcolm, Gartland, Whelan, Fahey, O'Brien, Ristila, Sandvliet. Subs: Rooney for Sandvliet (83 mins), Leech for Ristila (61 mins), Bradley for Whelan (76 mins).

LONGFORD TOWN: O'Brien; O'Connor, Dillon, Martin, Ferguson, Prunty, Kirby, Fitzgerald, Cawley, Cronin, Keegan. Subs: Baker for Cronin (84 mins), Myler for Keegan (88 mins).

Referee: I Stokes (Dublin)