Drogheda United continued their fine season with an entertaining 3-1 win against ten-man Bray Wanderers in the Carlisle Grounds.
Eric Foley’s 25-yard strike gave Drogheda the lead before Dean Marshall headed Bray level with twenty minutes left.
The visitors retook the lead after Adam Hanlon fouled Philip Hand and Declan O’Brien sent the keeper the wrong way from 12-yards. They made sure of the win with eight minutes left as Jason Marks was on hand to fire home after Darren Quigley parried O’Brien’s free kick.
Peter Hynes did well down the right early in the game, beating Dane Massey before crossing for Declan O’Brien. O’Brien made the run but was a whisker away from connecting with the cross.
John Mulroy had Bray’s first chance but he shot straight at Sava after ten minutes. Five minutes later Bray had another chance, as Dean Zambra laid a free-kick off to Daire Doyle but he fired just wide from 25-yards.
Mulroy had another chance one minute later but he fired across goal after getting behind the Drogheda defence. The home side went closer again as Zambra’s cross to the back post was met by the head of Adam Mitchell but his header was deflected over.
Zambra had a chance of his own minutes later but his diving header from Kieran Marty Waters’ went over the crossbar. Waters went close himself when he beat three defenders before his low curling effort needed a good cave from Sava.
The talking point of the first half arrived as the game approached the half-hour mark. Peter Hynes saw his attempt parried by Darren Quigley to the feet of Ryan Brennan. He composed himself for the shot before Danny O’Connor dived in with the challenge, but referee Rob Rogers was in close proximity and waved play-on.
Hynes went close again minutes later but his chip was saved by Quigley.
The home side had a great chance but Daire Doyle 25-yard strike came back off the upright after good build up from Sean Houston and Kevin O’Connor. Ryan Brennan had a late chance for Drogheda but Quigley made a good save.
Drogheda United broke the deadlock just two minutes into the second period, and it was a goal of supreme quality. Danny O’Connor’s poor headed clearance fell to Eric Foley and he punished him with a superb right footed drive past Quigley from 30-yards.
Bray almost equalised three minutes later as Kieran Marty Waters got to the endline and got his cross into the box. His cross came off Drogheda’s Philip Hand and rebounded off the post, much to the defender’s relief.
The chances continued as Declan O’Brien almost doubled the lead. Brian Gannon did superbly well down the right and found O’Brien in space six-yards from goal, but Quigley spread himself to make a good save.
The equaliser came arrived twenty minutes left with two substitutes combining. Adam Hanlon crossed from the right for Dean Marshall to head past Sava via the post.
The scores stayed level for just four minutes as Drogheda United hit the front once again. Philip Hand’s run was ended with a foul from Adam Hanlon and Rob Rogers correctly pointed to the spot. Declan O’Brien stepped up and send Darren Quigley the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Kevin O’Connor received his marching orders after a second yellow card before Drogheda sealed the win with eight minutes left. Declan O’Brien saw his 25-yard freekick parried by Quigley but Jason Marks followed up the chance and fired into the back of the net to seal the win for the visitors.
Bray Wanderers: Darren Quigley, Dane Massey, Adam Mitchell, Danny O’Connor, Shane O’Connor; Kieran Marty Waters, Kevin O’Connor, Daire Doyle (Adam Hanlon 68), Dean Zambra, Sean Houston (Dean Marshall 68), John Mulroy (Ismahil Akinade 83).
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava; Philip Hand, Derek Prendergast, Brian Gannon, Alan Byrne; Ryan Brennan, Sean Brennan (Jason Marks 75), Paul Crowley, Eric Foley (John Sullivan 68); Declan O’Brien, Peter Hynes (Cathal Brady 87).