A third Setanta Cup final awaits Drogheda United as despite a 1-0 defeat on Monday night the Boynesiders secured a 2-1 aggregate victory over Sligo Rovers.
Mick Cooke’s side travelled to Sligo knowing that a single goal would effectively end the tie and they played like a side looking to score rather than holding on to what they had.
They showed early promise, a long punt on two minutes was controlled by Declan O’Brien and his chested pass to Gary O’Neill almost set the striker through but O’Neill had come from an offside position. Four minutes later and Ryan Brennan hit a low shot at Gary Rogers, but the former Drogheda keeper had an easy task.
It was 15 minutes before the game came to life, Lee Lynch sprayed a pass across the box and Gabriel Sava came running to clear but slipped and presented an opportunity for Aaron Greene, but he hesitated and Brian Gannon got back to block the eventual shot.
Then Pascal Millien broke on the right, rounding Shane Grimes, before crossing an inviting ball which Alan Byrne and Brian Gannon both missed and once again Greene was placed to shoot but Derek Prendergast raced back and lunged in to make a momentous challenge and avert the danger.
Sligo were boosted by the return of their talismanic midfield maestro Joseph Ndo and he had the Drogheda midfield tormented as he constantly linked up with Pascal Millien to good effect.
The Bit O’Red broke the deadlock on 31 minutes, Lee Lynch once again crossing from the right and this time David Cawley received the pass and he played a neat little inter-change with Anthony Elding before scoring from close range.
Drogheda pressed again and had their chances as Gary O’Neill saw a shot saved before getting on the end of a headed Gavin Brennan pass but Rogers was off his line to close down the striker and prevent any danger.
On 49 minutes it looked as if Drogheda had got the goal they craved, Paul O’Conor fired a tremendous volley from distance only to see it bounce off the underside of the crossbar and come back out for Gary Rogers to catch.
With the crowd on their backs, Sligo upped the intensity. Joseph Ndo fired in a corner which Shane Grimes almost diverted goalwards but Alan Byrne was back to clear the danger. Then Millien broke down the wing to cross for Elding but his header sailed harmlessly over.
Gary O’Neill once again had a chance on 81 minutes when Danny Ventre lost possession and O’Neill broke through but his shot was blocked behind for a corner. Ryan Brennan tested Rogers with a volley from the edge of the box on 83 minutes before O’Neill saw another chance blocked down by Danny Ventre. Sligo failed to get the goal they needed and Drogheda now have another final date to look forward to.
Sligo Rovers: Gary Rogers; Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Ross Gaynor (Iarfhlaith Davoren, 83); Pascal Millien (Liam Martin, 82), Joseph Ndo (Danny Ventre, 65), Lee Lynch, David Cawley, Aaron Greene; Anthony Elding.
Subs not used: Adam Murphy, Jeff Henderson, Kieran Djilali, Ryan Connolly
Bookings: Cawley (46), Ventre (71).
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Brian Gannon, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Shane Grimes; Declan O’Brien (Graham Rusk, 72), Ryan Brennan, David Cassidy, Paul O’Conor, Gavin Brennan; Gary O’Neill.
Subs not used: Micheal Schlingermann, Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Michael Daly, Peter Hynes, Alan McNally.
Bookings: O’Neill (24), Cassidy (39).
- See more at: http://www.droghedaunited.ie/news/post.php?s=2013-04-23-match-report-setanta-sports-cup-semi-final-2nd-leg—-sligo-rovers-1-drogheda-united-0-1—-2-aggregate#sthash.ww6fRXYN.dpuf