By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda suffered their fourth defeat on the bounce as they lost 1-0 to Bohemians at United Park.
With both sides having squandered countless chances, the game seemed to be heading towards a draw before Dan Byrne’s header 15 minutes from time sealed victory for the visitors.
Drogheda manager Pete Mahon made four changes from the side that lost 4-0 to Derry City last Saturday as Luke Gallagher, Stephen Dunne, Sean Brennan and Gareth McCaffrey were all handed starts.
Starting in a false nine role, Paddy Kavanagh had the first shot of the game on five minutes as he was afforded too much space by the Drogheda defence though Stephen McGuinness was equal to his effort.
Drogheda struggled for a foothold in the game but they tried to get in behind the Bohs defence with forward Stephen Elliott being dragged down by Rob Cornwall resulting in the defender receiving a caution.
An identical incident two minutes later, involving both Elliott and Cornwall, led to calls for a second yellow for the former Shamrock Rovers defender though referee Paul Tuite waved play on.
The home side’s defensive frailties were on show once again on 25 minutes when a long throw-in into the box was missed by McGuinness only for Colm Deasy to clear off the line with Kavanagh lurking.
With the game starting to come to life, Drogheda began enjoying some success down the right as McCaffrey ghosted past Lorcan Fitzgerald though there was no one on the end of his cutback.
The best chance of the first-half fell the way of Drogheda five minutes before the break. Sean Thornton exchanged passed with Elliott as he accelerated into the penalty area only to drag his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Drogheda squandered another excellent opportunity to open the scoring just two minutes after the interval when Sean Brennan released Elliott through on goal but his first-time shot was smoothered by the advancing Supple.
That missed proved to be a turning point in the contest as Bohs had strikes from Derek Pender and Georgie Poynton blocked down in quick succession.
A nervousness had crept into Drogheda’s play and this was evident as Jamie Doyle dispossessed Ciaran McGuigan twice in the space of three minutes though McGuinness once again came to Drogheda’s rescue.
Clever play down the left found Thornton in space on the wing and his cutback was perfect for Sean Brennan but the midfielder took too many touches with the goal at his mercy before being crowded out.
The crucial moment of the game arrived 15 minutes from time when a cheaply conceded free-kick saw Lorcan Fitzgerald deliver the ball to the back-post and Byrne was left unmarked to head into the bottom corner.
Drogheda dominated the ball for the remainder of the game but despite their possession, they failed to really test the Bohemians goal as they slip to ninth in the league.
The Boynesiders will be looking to put their poor run of form to an end on Friday when they travel to Oriel Park to face Dundalk in the first Louth derby of the season.
Jake Hyland (Ryan McEvoy 82)
Sean Brennan (Marc Griffin 76)
Stephen Elliott (Thomas Byrne 82)
Ian Morris (Oscar Brennan 58)
Georgie Poynton (Phillip Gannon 76)
Keith Ward (Stephen Nolan 90)
Dan Byrne 75’