By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United have moved out of the relegation zone after they drew 0-0 with Bray Wanderers at United Park.
Both sides missed chances to break the deadlock in a cagey affair between two evenly matched sides.
Drogheda boss Pete Mahon made six changes from the side that lost 5-0 to Cork City on Friday as Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Stephen Dunne, Ryan McEvoy, Sean Brennan and Thomas Byrne were all restored to the starting XI.
The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges with Ryan Brennan’s tame effort proving straight forward for Drogs keeper Stephen McGuinness.
Drogheda were struggling to create many clear-cut chances with Killian Brennan firing high over the bar from a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Aaron Greene started in a central role for the Seagulls and he was denied twice in quick succession as Farragher blocked his strike before McGuinness parried his effort from an acute angle behind for a corner.
Drogheda’s best opening of the first-half arrived on the half-hour mark as Adam Wixted’s lofted ball into the area found Marc Griffin but the forward’s attempted strike was smothered by the onrushing Peter Cherrie.
The hosts breathed a huge sigh of relief seconds later as mishit clearance from Killian Brennan cannoned back off Greene from six yards out but bounced narrowly wide of the far post.
Bray were in the ascendancy as the game approached the break and they missed two great openings to break the deadlock. Firstly, Gary McCabe fired over unmarked from the edge of the box before Greene’s ambitious 20-yard strike curled wide of the far corner.
Drogheda were much improved in the second-half and only a fine interception from Tim Clancy denied Marc Griffin a clear sight on goal after good approach play from Byrne.
Sean Brennan was next to try his luck on goal but his effort from distance was deflected off target with Drogheda cranking up the pressure on the Bray goal.
The Boynesiders missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the 78th minute as Killian Brennan’s free-kick was only partially cleared to Luke Gallagher who fired into the side netting from eight yards out.
Drogheda created one final opportunity to take all three points when Sean Brennan’s cross from the right found Griffin but the forward sliced his effort with substitute Mark Doyle failing to hit the target on the follow-up.
The result lifts Drogheda up four places in the league to eight and they will be looking to register a first win in five when they host Derry City at United Park on Friday.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Stephen Dunne; Ryan McEvoy, Killian Brennan, Sean Brennan (Jake Hyland, 90); Adam Wixted, Marc Griffin (Stephen Elliott, 89), Thomas Byrne (Mark Doyle, 75).
Subs not used: Ryan Coulter, Conor Kane
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie; Keith Buckley, Tim Clancy (Derek Foran, 81), Conor Kenna, Kevin Lynch; Mark Salmon, John Sullivan (Karl Moore, 58), Gary McCabe, Ryan Brennan (Ger Pender, 74), Dylan Connolly; Aaron Greene.
Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Anthony Flood, Jason Marks, Ryan Robinson
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Colm Deasy