by Robert O'Reilly
A spirited second half performance saw Drogheda United earn a share of the spoils as they drew 1-1 with Derry City at United Park.
Drogheda had fallen behind to Mark Timlin’s stunning strike but that was cancelled out by Adam Whelan’s glancing header in the second half with both sides unable to find a winner.
There were two changes to the Drogheda side that won away to Limerick last week as Mark Hughes and Sean Thornton missed out due to injury with Stephen Maher and Lloyd Buckley both starting.
Derry, who are without a league win in over two months, had the first shot on goal after five minutes as bright passing between Patrick McEleney and Ryan Curran saw the latter test Micheál Schlingermann in goal.
The visitors had made a commanding start and they should have taken the lead with a half an hour played as Curran again exchanged passes with Patrick McEleney but he shot harmlessly wide rather than cutting back for his strike partner.
Schlingermann was called into action again as he denied Patrick McEleney’s attempted chip from 20 yards after the striker had gotten away from both of Drogheda’s centre backs.
Drogheda created their first chance of the half on 38 minutes as a long thrown in deep in the Derry half was knocked on by Robert O’Reilly to Sean Brennan but the midfielder’s effort was straight at Ger Doherty.
The Candystripes took a deserved lead on 40 minutes as Timlin drove a stunning free kick over the wall and into the top corner of the goal.
Drogheda started the second half brightly and they soon equalised as Joe Gorman’s cross was headed by Whelan onto the underside of the bar with the assistant referee adjudging the ball to have crossed the line.
The game was stretched at this stage with neither side settling for a point and Derry almost regained the lead as Curran diverted Jarvis’ cross wide from eight yards.
United had carried a threat from set-pieces all night and they almost took the lead on 80 minutes when Alan Byrne rose highest from Jason Marks’ delivery but his header was blocked while he fired over from the rebound though referee Neil Doyle had already awarded a free kick.
Drogheda came agonisingly close to earning all three points in stoppage time as Duffy robbed Shane McEleney of the ball before driving into the box and rounding Doherty only to by denied by a last ditch blocked by Aaron Barry.
The result sees Drogheda fall one place in the league to eight though they have now gone four games without defeat, a run they will be looking to continue when they face high-flying Bohemians at Dalymount Park in a fortnight.
Adam Whelan (Cathal Brady 77)
Sean Brennan (Tiarnan Mulvenna 85)
Sean Curtis (George Kelly 84)