Drogheda United have moved out of the relegation play-off position after they battled to a 1-1draw with Cork City at United Park.
Keith Treacy’s second goal in as many games gave the hosts an unlikely lead though they were pegged back only minutes later through Karl Sheppard’s close range strike with both sides missing chances to grab the winner in an end to end contest.
The game had yet to settle into a rhythm when Drogheda hit the front on nine minute as a poor back pass from Dan Murray allowed Treacy to race in ahead of Cork City goalkeeper Mark McNulty to poke the ball into the far corner of the goal.
Cork, who were looking to postpone Dundalk’s title celebrations with a victory, were level three minutes later as a short corner was played back out to Gavan Holohan and the former Drogheda man’s cross was met by Sheppard who guided the ball beyond Micheál Schlingermann with the home side’s appeal for offside in vain.
Drogheda struggled to get a foothold in the game for much of the first half and City will feel they should gone in at there break ahead having squandered a succession of goal scoring chances.
Firstly, Ross Gaynor’s cross was dummied by Sheppard for the onrushing Holohan but the midfielder’s strike was parried away from goal by the Drogheda goalkeeper and then Darren Dennehy volleyed narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
United started the second half with more of an attacking impetus and Treacy’s whipped delivery was missed by both Alan Byrne and Mick Daly before almost catching out McNulty at his far post.
Cork almost took the lead in the most unlikely of circumstances as a a routine long ball forward was headed back goalwards by Joe Gorman but a mix-up in communication between the full back and Schlingermann saw the ball bounce back off the post with the goalkeeper stranded.
A five minute spell midway through the second half saw Drogheda pile pressure on the visitors’ goal with Daly’s 30 yard drive being tipped over the bar by McNulty and the Cork goalkeeper was again in action as Robert Bayly’s mishit cross was parried behind for a corner.
The Leesiders wrestled back the ascendancy with a quarter of an hour left to play as substitute Billy Dennehy raced onto a long headed clearance but he fluffed his lines as his attempted lob over Schlingermann flew over the bar.
An excellent run from Robert McKenna earned Drogheda a free kick with three minutes left of normal time and Bayly’s pin point delivery was met by Tiarnan Mulvenna but the substitute’s header failed to hit the target.
Despite six minutes of additional time, both sides had to settle for a point which sees Drogheda rise to tenth in the table with Sligo Rovers facing Longford Town tomorrow night and with only a two point advantage over a resurgent Limerick, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be celebrating survival come the end of the season.
Drogheda United Team: Micheál Schlingermann; Lloyd Buckley, Alan Byrne, Robert O’Reilly, Joe Gorman; Mark Hughes, Mick Daly, Robert Bayly; Adam Whelan (Tiarnan Mulvenna 77), Keith Treacy (Robert McKenna 87); Ger Pender (Lee Duffy 46).
Subs not used: Liam Donnelly, Sean Brennan, Sam McGowan, Mark O’Brien
Cork City Team: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney, Darren Dennehy, Dan Murray, Kevin O’Connor; Steven Beattie, Gavan Holohan, Garry Buckley, Liam Miller (John Dunleavy 87), Ross Gaynor (Billy Dennehy 68); Karl Sheppard (John O’Flynn 68).
Subs not used: Alan Bennett, Alan Smith, Stephen Folan, Liam Kearney
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Robert Bayly
Adam Whelan (Tiarnan Mulvenna 77)
Keith Treacy (Robert McKenna 87)
Ger Pender (Lee Duffy 46)
Liam Miller (John Dunleavy 87)
Ross Gaynor (Billy Dennehy 68)
Karl Sheppard (John O’Flynn 68)
Keith Treacy 9
Karl Sheppard 12