Drogheda United 1 - 1 Dundalk (Drogheda win 3-2 on penos)Tue, Jun 26 2012
Drogheda United scraped into the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup after 120 minutes failed to separate the sides. The teams were level at 1-1 after the 90 and a goalless extratime saw a penalty shootout decide the winners.
Dundalk opening two penalties where saved while Drogheda seemed to wobble in the middle but after Dundalk’s man of the match Mark Griffin missed the fourth penalty Drogheda’s Gavin Brennan stepped up to slot home and see the Boynesiders through 3-2 after spotkicks.
Two very changed sides from the league games on Friday took to the pitch in Drogheda as the home side looked to record their first competitive win over Dundalk since the Lilywhites were promoted back to the Premier Division.
Referee Derek Tomney affected the flow of the game with incessant whistle blowing and showed a lack of consistency when booking Eric Foley for obstruction but allowing several rash challenges go unpunished.
Former Mons player Alan Byrne made his debut in the centre of the Drogheda defence. Sean McCaffery had Peter Cherrie back in goal and, despite doubts before the game, Michael Rafter and Steven McDonnell both played.
Both sides packed the midfield as Drogheda lined out in a 4-5-1 with Tiarnan Mulvenna the lone striker and McCaffery opted for the traditional 4-4-2.
The Boynesiders had the first chance of the game on 13 minutes as Stephen Quigley picked out Mulvenna with a perfect pass which went over the head of Luke Danville and the sole Drogheda striker ran to the byline as Cherrie held his ground Mulvenna dragged his effort just wide.
Dundalk’s long ball tactic wasn’t working as they couldn’t pick out their strikers and it became somewhat of a war of attrition in the middle of the pitch. They also squandered several chances from set pieces as the ref was very whistle happy.
Drogheda squandered another chance on 22 minutes, a long ball from the back by Paul Crowley looked to be heading nowhere until Mulvenna darted in between two Dundalk players and took possession. The striker then started a series of passes which saw Quigley and Mark O'Brien involved as a cross to the back post found Eric Foley and the defender hit the ball on the volley but with Cherrie beaten it narrowly went wide of the far post.
The home side took the lead on 33 minutes with a goal which was well worth the price of admission. Jonny Breen was fouled 25 yards out in the middle of the goal and up stepped Eric Foley to lift the ball over the wall but under the crossbar.
The visitors levelled matters against the run of play on 58 minutes, A long punt out wide by Mountney picked out Mark Griffin and the Dundalk player hit the ball on the volley leaving Trimble rooted to the spot.
Dundalk then enjoyed a period of dominance in which they couldn’t capitalise in the unease in the Drogheda defence. But Drogheda always looked dangerous and Mulvenna was brilliantly denied by a precision tackle from Luke Danville as the advancing striker had got himself in a position to shoot in the box and the Dundalk defender came sliding in to put the ball behind.
The game finished 1-1, and despite chances for both sides in extratime neither side could get the decisive goal. Drogheda United's penalty shootout win sees them into the semi-final and Dundalk continue to look for their first win over their neighbours this season.
Drogheda United: Stephen Trimble; Stephen Quigley, Alan Byrne, Paul Crowley, Philip Hand; Mark O’Brien (Dean Marshall 73), Cathal Brady (Ryan Brennan 62), Eric Foley, Gavin Brennan; Johnny Breen (Peter Hynes 67),Tiarnan Mulvenna.
Subs Not Used: Shane Finegan, Alan McNally, Declan O’Brien.
Booked: Foley (49), Quigley (73), G Brennan (111).
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Luke Danville, Derek Foran (Liam Burns 45), Stephen McDonnell (Shane O’Neill 82), Eoghan Osborne; John Mountney, Chris Shields, Paul Walsh, Robbie Waters (Conor McDonald 46); Mark Griffin, Michael Rafter.
Subs Not Used: Finian Farrelly, Nathan Murphy, Gary Shanahan, Chris Reilly.
Booked: Shields (71), Burns (90+1).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Extratime Man of the Match: Mark Griffin (Dundalk).
P.J. generally covers Drogheda games at HD Park and can generally be found at any Dublin ground when of a loose end on a Friday night.