Drogheda United 1 St Patrick's Athletic 2: As contests go, this was a tame affair until the last 10 minutes exploded to life with three goals.
A Christy Fagan strike on nine minutes from time looked to have wrapped up the points for the visitors before Drogheda thought they had rescued a point through Ryan Brennan's 90th minute equaliser.
There was still time, however, for a twist when referee Tom Connolly pointed to the penalty spot for the second time in the contest time and Ryan's brother Killian Brennan won it for Pat's with virtually the last kick of the match.
The contest ambled along aimlessly for 20 minutes before Pat's took a grip of proceedings, as United looked increasingly uncertain at the back. Derek Prendergast hooked an attempted clearance over his own bar, Conan Byrne scooped his effort too high from an excellent position in front of goal and Gabriel Sava miskicked a back pass that saw Alan Byrne spare his blushes with a timely clearance.
As the half drew to a close Pat's continued to make all the running but Ian Bermingham couldn't keep his shot down. Kenny Browne's goal-bound header looped over Sava but David Cassidy was on the line to head clear and Anto Flood's header just about cleared the crossbar to the relief of the home side.
Pat’s picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and had Drogheda nerves jangling again when Conan Byrne’s free from twenty five yards eluded everyone before drifting just past Sava’s left hand post. Out of sorts for the entire afternoon, Drogheda were handed a golden opportunity to score after Killian Brennan handled the ball in the box in full view of referee Connolly.
However, the normally reliable Declan O’Brien drove the spot kick wide, summing up the day for United.
Pat's compounded United's misery eight minutes from time when Ger O'Brien raced down the right and crossed for substitute Fagan, who rattled the net for what appeared to be the winner. With time up following some head tennis in the Pat's box, Ryan Brennan latched onto the ball to hook his shot home to level matters.
To the dismay of Drogheda, referee Connolly, having awarded the earlier penalty in similar circumstances at the other end, pointed to the spot when the ball came up off the turf and struck Alan Byrne’s hand. Brennan planted his kick past Sava for the winner.
Drogheda: Sava, Quigley, Prendergast, R Brennan, G Brennan, Grimes, Rusk (Brady 77), Cassidy, O'Brien (Hynes 79), Daly, Byrne.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Clarke, O'Brien, Kenna, Browne (Price H/T), Bermingham, Bolger, Russell, K Brennan, Byrne (Kelly 65), Forrester, Flood (Fagan 75). Referee: T. Connolly (Dublin)