by Robert O'Reilly
St. Patrick’s Athletic secured their third successive win in the league as they easily disposed of Drogheda United 4-0 at United Park.
The Saints took the lead in the 38th minute through former Drogheda player Lee Lynch before a 35-yard wonder strike from Chris Forrester doubled their advantage while second half goals from Conan Byrne and Forrester again completing the rout.
Drogheda United manager Robbie Horgan gave Phillip Hughes his first start of the season as both Declan O’Brien and Gary O’Neill started from the substitutes bench while Sean Hoare partnered Derek Foran at the heart of St. Pat’s defence.
Despite a lot of early possession, the visitors struggled to create any chances of note until the 21st minute when Forrester sprung the offside trap but his goal bound effort was cleared by Michael Daly.
Keith Fahey sent a free kick narrowly wide on the half hour as Drogheda struggled to get a foothold in the game.
The breakthrough eventually arrived during a period of intense St. Pat’s pressure as Christy Fagan advanced beyond both Drogheda center-halves and despite David Ryan saving his initial effort; the follow-up was converted by the onrushing Lee Lynch.
Before the home side could regroup, a breathtaking strike from Forrester three minutes later made it 2-0, the talented winger hitting a volley from just inside the opposition half, catching Ryan off his line with a goal of the season contender.
The second half started in a similar pattern as the Saints dominated possession with United creating very little from an attacking perspective.
An over hit cross from Gavin Brennan was the closest Drogheda could come to pulling a goal back as St. Pat’s looked to extend their advantage on the break.
The visitors finally put the game out of sight on 70 minutes as Forrester was once again given too much room on the edge of the Drogheda box and he picked out Conan Byrne who slid the ball beyond Ryan for 3-0.
It was no surprise that Forrester had the final say in an excellent performance as the winger picked up a loose ball in the final minute and eased pass the challenges of three Drogheda defenders before rounding Ryan and firing the ball into the back of the net.
The most concerning aspect of the result for Drogheda will be that a score line of 4-0 flattered them as they continue their slump down the league table with the visit of Shamrock Rovers to come on Friday.
by Robert O'Reilly
Drogheda United will aim to bounce back from consecutive defeats as they face St. Patrick’s Athletic at United Park on Monday, kick-off 6pm.
Despite a spirited performance, the Drogs returned home from the trip to Cork pointless following a 3-1 reversal as they slipped to 5th in the table.
Michéal Schlingermann and Austin McCann are the only players unavailable for Monday’s clash at home to St. Patrick’s Athletic. Schlingermann is close to a return to the side while McCann will miss the remainder of the season.
Having had a difficult start to the season, the reigning champions picked up an impressive 3-1 victory over Bohemians on Friday, lifting the Saints to 3rd in the table.
St. Patrick’s Athletic manager Liam Buckley will be without Kenny Browne for Monday’s game but both Killian Brennan and Greg Bolger will be available for selection.
The corresponding fixture last season was packed with late drama as Ryan Brennan cancelled out Christy Fagan’s opener only for his brother Killian to settle the tie from the penalty spot with the final kick of the game.
Speaking on Sunday, Drogheda United manager Robbie Horgan admitted that while the visitors remain the side to beat this season, he is confident that Drogheda can cause an upset.
“It was a missed opportunity on Friday, especially considering that we had a penalty at 0-0. You don’t get too many chances down at Cork but we cut them open on several occasions and should have been in the lead at the break. To be fair, Cork picked up their performance in the second half. They took their chances where we didn’t and that was what separated the sides.
“I know Liam Buckley well from our time together at Sporting Fingal and it’s interesting to see that probably for the first time in years that Liam has changed the shape of his team from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1. Perhaps this is a means of accommodating his best players into the side given the depth of quality that they have.
“The champions are always the team to beat but with the way the league has gone so far it is impossible to tell. They are a good side and I got a detailed match report on how they performed on Friday, which was very complimentary on how they played. They have quality throughout their squad but we have had good results against them through the years and we will be aiming to come out on top again tomorrow.“
Eric Foley (Daire Doyle 32’)
Cathal Brady (Declan O’Brien 77’)
Carl Walshe (Gary O’Neill 56’)
Ger O’Brien (Conor McCormack 80’)
Keith Fahey (Greg Bolger 73’)
James Chambers (Killian Brennan 68’)
Lee Lynch 38’
Chris Forrester 41’ & 89’
Conan Byrne 70’
Daire Doyle (yellow) 57’