By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United secured their second win in three games as they ran out 2-0 winners away to Finn Harps on Friday night.
Goals in either half from Adam Wixted and Gavin Brennan saw Drogheda register only their second away win of the season.
Drogheda United manager Pete Mahon made five changes from the side that lost 3-0 to Limerick last Saturday as Ciaran McGuigan, Conor Kane, Gavin Brennan, Stephen Elliott and Wixted were all restored to the starting line-up.
The visitors started brightly and they created the first opening of the game as Elliott’s shot was deflected into the path of Wixted who fired over from close range.
Harps were struggling to get to grips with the Drogheda midfield though they almost broke the deadlock when Sean Houston played Ethan Boyle through on goal though Stephen McGuinness was quick off his line to deny him.
Drogheda deservedly took the lead just shy of the half-hour mark. Fine hold-up play out wide from Elliott saw the former Sunderland man work a yard of space before crossing for Wixted who headed beyond Ciaran Gallagher for the opener.
It was nearly 2-0 two minutes later as a bouncing ball fell nicely for Elliott but his first-time effort from 25-yards was straight at the Finn Harps keeper.
The visitors were dominating the first-half and they again came close to doubling their lead just before the break as Gavin Brennan headed narrowly wide from Sean Thornton’s set-piece delivery.
Finn Harps were a different side in the second half and they had their first shot in anger within a minute of the re-start as Paddy McCourt pulled his strike wide from the edge of the box.
McCourt was becoming a growing influence in the contest and he lofted the ball into the path of Houston but the midfielder shot straight at McGuinness.
Harps’ best chance of an equaliser happened with an hour played as McCourt’s free-kick eventually made its way to Houston but he fired over the bar from six-yards out.
Despite seeing little of the ball, Drogheda restricted Finn Harps to few chances before they doubled the lead against the run of play. A fine ball in from the right by Colm Deasy was calmly slotted into the corner by Gavin Brennan for his first goal since returning to the club this season.
The Boynesiders saw out the remaining minutes with ease and they will be looking to build on this momentum with successive home games against Sligo Rovers and Galway United up next.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll; Ethan Boyle, Michael Funston (Eddie Dsane 63), Barry Molloy, Caolan McAleer, Gareth Harkin; Paddy McCourt (Simon McGlynn 80); Sean Houston.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran McGuigan, Conor Kane; Adam Wixted (Shane Elworthy 90), Sean Thornton, Richie Purdy, Gavin Brennan; Gareth McCaffrey (Ryan McEvoy 90), Stephen Elliott (Marc Griffin 75).
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Adam Wixted