Late own goal hands promoted Drogheda the perfect return to top flight

Kevin Sheedy’s first game in charge of the Blues ends in cruel defeat

Drogheda United 1 Waterford 0

Newly-promoted Drogheda United nicked an opening day win against Kevin Sheedy’s Waterford thanks to a Cameron Evans own goal with a minute left at Head in the Game Park.

With ex-Republic of Ireland winger Sheedy on his way to securing a point on his managerial debut, centre back Evans slid in to divert James Brown's shot past the wrong-footed Brian Murphy.

While the First Division champions included four new recruits, including former Dundalk defender Dane Massey, in their side, Sheedy’s selection featured nine close-season arrivals.

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It certainly showed as the visitors struggled for cohesion in the first half, with Drogheda disappointed not to go at the break ahead.

Tim Clancy’s well-drilled side gave nothing away at the back while offering a threat from wide areas up front.

Oscar Brennan almost gifted them an own goal on 15 minutes when he deflected a corner just past the post. Mark Doyle did strike the post on 34 minutes from Ronan Murray's delivery but was harshly ruled out for offside.

Drogheda continued to create the better chances after the break. Darragh Markey arrowed a shot wide and it took a last-ditch interception by Waterford's Jamie Mascoll to deny Chris Lyons from close range.

The closest Waterford came to stealing a win was a late free-kick by James Waite which drifted wide but they were eventually undone in cruel circumstances.

DROGHEDA UTD: D Odumosu; J Brown, D O'Reilly, D Massey, C Kane; G Deegan, J Hyland; D Markey (B Bermingham, 55 mins), R Murray (H Douglas, 90 mins), M Doyle; C Lyons (D Corcoran, 68 mins).

WATERFORD: B Murphy; T Sobolwale, K Ferguson, C Evans, J Mascoll; A O'Reilly, O Brennan, K Mashigo, J Stafford (J Martin, 74 mins); P Mustwunguma (D Murphy, 77 mins), J Waite.

Referee: G Kelly (Cork).