by Robert O'Reilly
10 man Drogheda United maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they drew 1-1 away to Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park.
Drogheda took the lead on 34 minutes through a penalty from Sean Thornton but the game swung the way of the visitors on 72 minutes as substitute Liam Donnelly was dismissed before Shane O’Connor scored seconds later to ensure both sides had a share of the spoils.
Drogheda United manager Pete Mahon made one change from the side that defeated Waterford United last week as Thornton replaced the injured Sean Brennan and it was the former Sunderland man who gave the visitors the lead as he fired low past Paul Hunt following a foul in the penalty area.
It could have been 2-0 just before the break as Sam O’Connor was played through in behind the Cobh defence and despite just having Hunt to beat, the forward’s strike was straight at the former Longford Town goalkeeper.
A bright start to the second half saw Drogheda created another goalscoring opportunity as Colm Deasy’s deep cross was met by the head of Eoin Kirwan but last week’s match winner was unable to hit the target.
Cobh were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men with an hour played as Evan Galvin’s dangerous tackled on Thornton was only punished with a yellow card and yet it was Drogheda who were a man down on 72 minutes as substitute Liam Donnelly was dismissed for a late challenge on Christopher McCarthy only seconds after being introduced.
A bad couple of minutes for United were compounded as Graham McCarthy’s whipped delivery from the right Ian Mylod who headed the ball back across goal for O’Connor who made no mistake in finishing past Patrick Dunican.
The visitors did excellently to frustrate Cobh and they will be grateful to Dunican who made a stunning save to deny O’Connor a second with only two minutes remaining as both sides had to settle for a point.
Drogheda will be aiming to keep pace at the summit of the First Division next week when they face Athlone Town at United Park.
David Curran (Christopher McCarthy 33)
Cory Galvin (Markus Gustavsson 64)
Aaron Ashe (Liam Donnelly 70)
Eoin Kirwan (Mark Doyle 82)
Sam O’Connor (Stephen Dunne 53)
Shane O’Connor 73
Sean Thornton (pen) 34