By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United have been knocked out of the FAI Cup after they lost 1-0 to Waterford at United Park.
Bastien Héry’s strike was enough to see the Premier Division side through as they hung on despite a spirited display from the hosts.
Drogheda manager Tim Clancy made one change from the side that drew away to Cabinteely last week as William Hondermarck replaced Colm Deasy.
The tie was only four minutes old when Waterford took the lead. Héry picked up the ball in midfield and he let fly from all of 30 yards as the ball evaded Paul Skinner and found the far corner.
It was nearly 2-0 a minute later as indecision in the Drogheda defence saw Ismahil Akinade nip in but he missed the target before colliding with the onrushing Skinner.
A quarter of an hour had passed before Drogheda put their first attack together as Chris Lyons connected with Mark Doyle’s cross but his header was too weak to test Niall Corbett in goal.
Lyons was typically central to Drogheda’s attacks and he went close to levelling midway through the half as his snap shot from the edge of the box narrowly missed the top corner.
Sean Brennan was next to try his luck as his long range strike was well held by Corbett as Drogheda went into the break a goal behind.
The contest really came to life on the hour mark as former Ireland international Noel Hunt headed wide at the near post when he really should’ve done better.
Drogheda’s best chance of the contest arrived via a fine individual run by Lyons who drove at the heart of the Waterford defence before slipping Mark Doyle through on goal but the forward failed to make a clean connection with his effort.
As Drogheda continued to push men forward, they left more space at the back which Waterford began to exploit. Former Ireland international Noel Hunt played a defence splitting pass for Akinade who, with only Skinner to beat, saw his low strike deflect wide off the legs of the Drogheda keeper.
United pinned Waterford back into their own half for the final 15 minutes of the game but a number of crosses missed their target as Waterford held on to reach the final eight of the Cup.
The Boynesiders’ attention now turns back to their play-off push as they host First Division leaders UCD in a crucial clash at United Park next Friday.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Ciaran Kelly; Mark Doyle, Jake Hyland, Richie Purdy, Sean Brennan (Rob Manley 75), Conor Kane; Chris Lyons, William Hondermarck (Colm Deasy 46)
Subs: Luca Gratzer, Lloyd Buckley, Sean Trimble, Kealan Dillon, Jordan Adeyemo
Waterford: Niall Corbet, Gary Comerford, Kenny Browne, David Webster, Rory Feely; , Paul Keegan, Dessie Hutchinson, Bastien Héry, Gavan Holohan (Dylan Barnett 85); Ismahil Akinade, Noel Hunt (Dean O’Halloran 85)
Subs: Matthew Connor, Noe Baba, Carlos Wilson, Sander Puri, Renars Rodd
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Chris Lyons