Derry City finally condemn Drogheda to the drop
The Louth side went out with a whimper in Buncrana
Derry City 2 Drogheda United 1
Drogheda United’s immediate return to the First Division was confirmed at Maginn Park on Friday night, Derry delighted to get back to winning ways.
Having suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat at this venue last week, Kenny Shiels’ men may have bounced back to secure three points, but they were far from impressive.
Indeed, Drogheda were authors of their own misfortune before three minutes had elapsed when young full-back, Conor Kane, failed to find keeper, Stephen McGuinness, with an under-weighted back pass and Conor McDermott stepped in to guide the ball home. A gift of a goal.
Ten minutes later, McDermott turned provider when he was sent scampering clear on the right by Rory Patterson and McDermott’s low cross from the right was diverted into the net by Ronan Curtis from close range.
In the 31st minute Drogheda’s Stephen Elliott played Ritchie Purdy into a one-on-one situation but a superb last ditch tackle from Darren Cole saved the day for the home side.
And Drogheda threatened again in the 41st minute when Sean Brennan did well to turn inside Derry centre-back, Aaron Barry, but his powerful drive was well saved by keeper, Ger Doherty.
However, following the change of ends, Derry struggled against the wind with Drogheda forcing the home side back in an effort to salvage something from the game.
Indeed, in the 75th minute a superb cross from Brennan was met by the head of Shane of Elworthy but Doherty did well to claw the ball away from his goal with a full stretch save.
That close call served to wake Derry up with Ben Doherty bringing the best out of McGuinness at the other end with a deflected shot before the Drogheda keeper saved again when blocking Harry Monaghan’s downward header.
Drogheda had the final say with the last kick of the match when substitute Mark Doyle took advantage of a mistake by keeper, Doherty follow a Brennan free, but it was a case of too little, too late.
The Co. Louth side return to the graveyard that is the First Division while Derry will strengthen their claims for a place in next season’s Europa League and a fourth place league finish would secure that given Limerick’s defeat in the FAI Cup semi-final.
DERRY CITY: G. Doherty; Cole, Barry, Jarvis; McDermott (Schubert, h/t), Monaghan, Low, McNamee, B. Doherty; Patterson.
DROGHEDA UNITED: McGuinness; Deasy *Doyle, 81), Buckley, Mulcahy, Kane; Wixted, Purdy, McEvoy (Bayly, 74), Elworthy; Brennan; Elliott (Masterson, 86).
Referee: J. McLoughlin (Roscommon).