Five Star Drogheda get their 2014 season underway
A five star performance saw Drogheda United secure a win in their first pre-season game of the 2014 season. In front of more than 100 fans at the beautiful Market Green venue, Robbie Horgan began his managerial tenure.
Gary O’Neill marked his return to football with the pick of the goals mid-way through the second half.
For the first half, Paul Crowley, partnered by Gavan Holohan, returned to his midfield role while Paul Andrews lined up alongside Alan McNally at the back, both towering in front of Schlingermann. Declan O’Brien started up front with Carl Walshe slotting in just behind the experienced striker. Gavin Brennan and Cathal Brady supplied pace on either wing while Mick Daly and Shane Grimes retained their full-back roles.
The Boynesiders started well, with a real attacking feel to the team, and Gavan Holohan tested the Glebe keeper early on from distance. Walshe and O’Brien showed a first flash of the partnership they are developing when on 13 minutes they both linked up for O’Brien’s shot to be charged down. Holohan however was on hand to get the rebound but he was blocked by the well marshalled Glebe defence.
The Boynesiders were unlucky not to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark when Holohan impressively floated a perfect pass for O’Brien at the back post to head just over. The first goal came on 32 minutes when Holohan dummied the centre back and keeper to turn and drag a shot to the far corner from outside the box.
Micheál Schlingermann had a quiet time in goal but he was very alert to any danger and dealt well with the few chances that did get past the back four. The Drogs pressure told just before the interval when Cathal Brady played the ball out to Mick Daly whose inviting cross was turned home by the Glebe defence.
Brady’s pace and movement caused the Balbriggan side serious problems and the winger darted into the box before being brought down right on 45 minutes. Gavin Brennan stepped up to chip the deftest Panenka penalty to make it 3-0.
An almost entirely different team took to the pitch for the second 45. Gary O’Neill’s return to action was greeted by cheers from the travelling support. Alan McNally, Mick Daly and Paul Andrews remained on the pitch.
Eric Foley demonstrated what he was capable of on 53 minutes when he bent a free over the wall from outside the box but it just didn’t dip under the cross bar. Glebe came into the game and enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure but couldn’t break down the Drogheda defence and another penalty past the hour killed the game as a contest. Eric Foley drew the foul before Philly Hughes stepped up to sweep the spot kick home.
Daire Doyle marshalled the midfield in the second-half – the ex-Bray Wanderers player showed a flash of his capability when he pinged a curling shot from 25 yards out which just went the wrong side of the post.
Some quick link-up play starting with O’Neill in midfield unleashed Daly on the right wing and he bombed down the wing before arrowing a ball for Philly Hughes to head at goal but he powered it off the Glebe keeper.
The moment of the night came on 67 minutes when Gary O’Neill, looking away from goal, chested the ball down before hitting a volley on the turn from 30 yards out which swerved and dipped into the goal to a massive cheer.
Drogheda continued to press in search of a sixth as Hughes and O’Neill both had further chances, Paul Matondo raced through to a great pass from Foley but he mis-hit the shot.
There were plenty of positives on show as Drogheda put in a positive and clinical display with two very attack minded setups. Next up are back-to-back games in Carlow IT against Waterford United and Wexford Youths on Friday and Saturday respectively.