Shamrock Rovers break Drogheda hearts at the last
Daniel Mandroiu’s injury-time header earns champions all three points on the road
Graham Burke celebrates Shamrock Rovers’ later winner against Drogheda. Photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho
Drogheda United 0 Shamrock Rovers 1
Daniel Mandroiu headed home a stoppage-time winner to keep Shamrock Rovers joint-top of the Premier Division and inflict a first defeat in four on Drogheda.
With the game at Head In The Game Park drifting into the fifth added minute, the substitute popped up at the back post to head home a free-kick delivery by Dylan Watts.
Drogheda had recorded two decent results since their last home game - beating Longford Town 4-0 and drawing 1-1 with Derry City - but captain Jake Hyland missed out on Tuesday.
They survived an early scare when Aaron Greene peeled off his marker from Ronan Finn’s cross but couldn’t get a proper connection on his header.
Operating on the counter against the champions, Drogs fashioned their first opening on 12 minutes after Mark Doyle seized upon a loose pass by Sean Kavanagh.
The striker darted from his own half only to see his attempted cross to strike partner Chris Lyons intercepted by Roberto Lopes.
Rovers should have capitalised on a period of sustained pressure midway through the half. When Colin McCabe flapped at Sean Hoare’s deep cross on 20 minutes, Greene headed back across goal for Rory Gaffney who saw his volley hacked off the line.
The visitors continued to create the better chances after the break with substitutes Lee Grace and Graham Burke going close before Mandroiu’s late intervention.
Drogheda United: C McCabe; H Douglas, D O’Reilly, D Massey; J Brown, L Heeney (D Markey 76), G Deegan; K Phillips, R O’Shea (J Tuite 90); M Doyle, C Lyons (B Bermingham 69).
Shamrock Rovers: A Mannus; S Hoare, R Lopes, L Scales; S Gannon, R Finn (D Mandroiu 72), G O’Neill (C McCann 60), D Watts, S Kavanagh (L Grace 72); A Greene, R Gaffney (G Burke 66).
Referee: D McGraith (Mayo).