Pat Fenlon admitted that his side were lucky to take all three points as Shamrock Rovers edged past Drogheda United 1-0 at Tallaght Stadium last night.
The Hoops maintained their unbeaten start to this season’s SSE Airtricity League campaign and moved into second place in the table but Fenlon’s side only scraped the victory thanks to a Mikey Drennan goal, gifted by a mix-up in the Drogheda defence.
And while the Rovers boss was happy overall with the win, which moves his side to within three points of leaders Dundalk, albeit with a game more played, he believed that his side’s first-half performance was sloppy against a well-organised Drogheda.
“You’re always concerned when it’s 1-0,” Fenlon told RTE Sport. "We started the first half sloppy, then in the second half we were a bit better and created enough chances to kill it off.
"In fairness to Drogheda, they came with a good game-plan and caused us some problems on the counter-attack. But the important thing is three points, I suppose.
“You go in to games like this and people expect us to get three points. But tonight we probably got a bit of luck to win the game.
“I just said to the players at half-time that we were just too sloppy. We were passing square balls that were just picked off too easy, all over the pitch, the back four, into midfield, we never moved the ball quick enough.
“So we just said we need to cut that out and move the ball a bit quicker and be a bit sharper and we did that in the second half.”
Last night’s victory over Johnny McDonnell’s Drogheda ended Rovers’ first round of games in this year’s league campaign and while they are one of only two sides who remain unbeaten - along with champions and league leaders Dundalk – they have drawn five times.
Fenlon admits that his side dropped points at home in games he felt they should have won: “We felt we could have won the games that we did draw here against Bohs and Cork but it’s a tight league and a tough league with good sides who are well organised.
“It’s very early in the season, 11 games in, and we’ve played everyone. But it’s a tough league with no easy games and we went to Limerick last week and it was a tough game. So there are some good teams in it.”
If it wasn’t for an instinctive finish from striker Mikey Drennan, who pounced from close-range after some indecisive Drogheda defending, Rovers may have chalked up yet another draw and the manager is delighted with his youthful contingent.
Former Aston Villa man Drennan scored his seventh goal in eight league games, while 20-year-old Brandon Miele crashed a last-minute effort off the crossbar.
“Both of them have come back from spells in England where it hasn’t worked out for them but they’re good enough to maybe go again,” said Fenlon.
“They have to knuckle down. Mikey has really done that and he is scoring goals and Brandon has been patient and he has been in and out of the team a bit.
“But he has had two starts now in the last three games and he did well enough tonight. I was delighted with him. He’s a young player and it’s great to get young lads in the team.”