by Shane Callaghan
By Shane Callaghan
Lee Duffy came off the bench to rescue a point for Drogheda United with a late penalty in this evening’s 2-2 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park.
Both sides went in level at the break after Conan Byrne cancelled out Lloyd Buckley’s opener on the stroke of half time in an entertaining first 45 minutes.
Pats dominated the second half and deservedly went ahead through Ciaran Kilduff on 60 minutes as Drogheda stared down the barrel of a fifth successive league defeat, but Duffy coolly slotted an 84th-minute penalty to earn a point.
Johnny McDonnell’s side travelled to the capital with the omens against them, having lost all three of their meetings with Pats last season – conceding 13 times along the way.
However, the Boynesiders, whose last victory over the Saints came back in July 2012, made good inroads toward ending that hoodoo against the 2013 champions when Daryl Kavanagh forced Conor O’Malley into a smart save on 10 minutes.
It would be the last time that the visitors threatened for a while as Liam Buckley’s charges began to dominate, but the United rearguard stood up well, with centre-half duo Alan Byrne and Buckley shackling spearhead Kilduff.
Saints gradually grew more dangerous, however, and were unfortunate not to move ahead when Christy Forrester saw his curling effort come back off the crossbar on 25 minutes.
It was the slice of luck that Drogheda needed to establish a foothold, as Jason Marks, with just O’Malley to beat, dragged a shot horribly wide on the half-hour mark, before Kavanagh also drilled wide from a good position shortly after.
It proved a sign of things to come, though, as Buckley, who opened his account against Cork City on Friday, netted his second in the space of three days by nodding home from a corner.
Just before the break Pats grabbed an equaliser, as Byrne rose highest to head home Ian Bermingham’s brilliant cross at the near post.
Byrne continued to menace early in the second half with a couple of audacious strikes from range, while Kavanagh drilled well wide from distance in a rare foray forward by Drogheda.
Pats continued to dominate and it paid off on the hour mark when an error from Byrne, who had helped combat Kilduff so effectively during the first period, allowed the former Shamrock Rovers man a sight at goal and the hitman made no mistake, firing across Micheal Schlingermann.
Schlingermann was forced to tip Forrester’s cross-cum-shot over the bar minutes later as the hosts looked for a cushion, while Kilduff failed to finish what would have been a superb team goal by stroking wide shortly after.
Kilduff spurned another chance to establish a two-goal cushion when his looping header dropped just wide in a miss that proved costly, as Duffy rolled home the equaliser from 12 yards to deny the hosts.
by Robert O'Reilly
By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United will be aiming to put an end to a poor run of results tomorrow night when they face St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park, kick-off 7.45pm.
Two goals within the opening twenty minutes from Billy Dennehy and Kieran Djilali gave Drogheda an uphill task and despite Lloyd Buckley’s late goal, United were left ruing their poor start as they suffered their fifth league defeat of the campaign.
“I think it was a lack of concentration that cost us,” Drogs boss Johnny McDonnell acknowledged. “We had a plan for what we wanted to do and that was still in place after the first goal but then we gave away a second from a corner kick. I felt we responded well and the second half was a very good performance.”
18 year-old Buckley pulled one back for the hosts with his first goal for the club and despite a concerted amount of pressure, Drogheda were unable to break down a stubborn Cork defence.
“We are after playing the top two from last season and I certainly feel that we deserved at least a point from one of those games. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb on Friday and in the end it proved too much for us but I was delighted with the response of the players. On another night we would have gotten a result.”
Drogheda have a poor recent record against the Saints having lost all three games against them last season, conceding 13 goals in the process while their last win at Richmond Park came in July of 2012 when the Drogs recorded a 2-0 win.
While McDonnell is optimistic of a positive result, he is aware that his side’s main objective will be to stop the Inchicore outfit from playing.
“We will be going into the game with a similar approach to Dundalk a fortnight ago. We need to pressure them because they like to play a quick passing game. St Pat’s have had a bit of a slow start this season by their standard and hopefully that will continue tomorrow night.”
Sean Thornton missed training on Sunday morning with a tight hamstring and he will be assessed before the game while Neil Yadolahi will be absent as he has travelled to England for extensive treatment on his thigh injury.
Conan Byrne (Morgan Langley 65)
Christopher Forrester (Greg Bolger 78)
James Chambers (Jamie McGrath 86)
Sean Thornton (Shane Dunne 65)
Jason Marks (Carl Walshe 78)
Tiarnan Mulvenna (Lee Duffy 65)