By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United have exited the FAI Cup after they were defeated 2-1 by Derry City in the Second Round replay at United Park.
Derry took an early lead through Rory Patterson’s free kick but Drogheda drew level in the first half courtesy of Sean Thornton’s penalty before a superb strike from Josh Daniels sealed progression for the Premier Division side.
There were barely four minutes played when the visitors struck for the opener as Aaron Molloy was penalised for a foul 25 yards from goal and Patterson drilled the resulting set piece through the Drogheda wall giving ‘keeper Stephen McGuinness no chance.
Drogheda struggled to get a foothold in the game but they came close to drawing level as a free kick from the edge box was sent narrowly wide of the far post by Thornton.
A rapid counter-attack from a Drogheda corner presented Derry with another opportunity on goal as Nathan Boyle dribbled beyond the last two Drogheda defenders but his weak effort was well held by McGuinness.
Drogheda’s first shot on target came on the half-hour mark as industrious play from Aaron Ashe down the left saw him rob Boyle of possession before nutmegging Niclas Vemmelund but his long distance strike was parried behind by Doherty.
The home side drew level on 35 minutes when Aaron Molloy, who saw his initial effort saved, was clipped from behind by Aaron Barry and Drogheda captain Thornton calmly slotted his penalty down the middle for his fourth goal of the season.
Derry regained the lead early in the second half as a loose ball in midfield was collected by McEneff who played in Daniels down the left and he cut inside Ken Costello before curling a superb strike beyond McGuinness into the far corner.
It was almost 3-1 moments later as a corner from the right found the unmarked Barry but the defender’s header was eventually cleared off the line following an almighty goal line scramble.
Despite dominating possession in the latter stages of the game, Drogheda struggled to test Doherty in goal as they were eliminated from the Cup at the hands of the Candystripes for the third season running.
Eoin Kirwan (Derek Doyle 70)
Sean Thornton (Sean Brennan 68)
Liam Donnelly (Marc Griffin 68)
Lucas Schubert (Keith Ward 81)
Rory Patterson (Ronan Curtis 14)