Finn Harps and Drogheda United played out an occasionally bruising yet tame draw at Finn Park with the visitors certainly happier with the stalemate.
Jake Hyland got a straight red from referee Neil Doyle for a clattering challenge on Tunde Owolabi with 17 minutes to play and the numbers were evened up on 85 minutes when Sean Boyd raised his hands on Gary Deegan, although Harps were claiming an elbow took place beforehand.
Those were the only fireworks as the home side failed to take maximum points from the only top flight side they had failed to beat this season.
Tim Clancy's Drogheda remain five points ahead of Harps, who move up to eighth ahead of Waterford on goal difference with three matches to play.
Fifteen minutes in, Mark Coyle’s snappy challenge on Conor Keane 25 yards from the Drogheda goal won Harps possession and the midfielder played in Owolabi, who drove across the face of David Odumosu’s goal.
Dave Webster then passed up on a decent opportunity from a Ryan Connolly corner, which was flicked across by Sean Boyd. Webster, the Harps captain, stole in at the back post only to skew his effort wide.
Drogheda, bar a disallowed goal after only five minutes from Mark Doyle when he followed up a Mark Anthony McGinley parry from a fine Dane Massey volley, threatened little. And although Harps were the ones pushing the case the most, the scoreless first half was a fair reflection on things.
The third quarter was similarly quiet, with McGinley in the Harps goal called into action only when team-mate Coyle miscued an attempted clearance and Boyd, at the other end, dragged a shot from outside of the area wide of the post.
Gary Deegan fired a free-kick straight at McGinley, although when Hyland saw red, Harps knew they had to go for broke. Owolabi ballooned a header from a Barry McNamee cross and when Boyd was sent off it was ten men apiece.
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Shane McEleney (Karl O’Sullivan, half-time), Kosovar Sadiki, Dave Webster; Ethan Boyle, Mark Coyle (Dan Hawkins 80), Ryan Connolly, Jordan Mustoe; Barry McNamee (Will Seymore 90+2); Sean Boyd, Tunde Owolabi (Adam Foley 90+2).
Drogheda United: David Odumosu; Joseph Redmond, Dan O'Reilly, Dane Massey; James Brown, Jake Hyland, Gary Deegan, Luke Heeney (Killian Phillips HT), Conor Kane; Mark Doyle, Jordan Adeyemo (Dinny Corcoran HT).
Referee: Neil Doyle
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