Darragh Burns scored a delightful late equaliser for a lacklustre St Patrick's Athletic as they had to come from behind to salvage a point against a dogged Drogheda United at Richmond Park.

An opportunist first half strike from Dayle Rooney looked to have seen Kevin Doherty get the better of his former boss Tim Clancy.

The pair had managed Drogheda for the previous four years before Clancy succeeded Stephen O’Donnell at St Patrick’s in the off season.

And while Doherty had the option of joining Clancy to continue as his assistant, the Dubliner opted to take full charge at Head in The Game Park.

This tenacious rearguard action was 13 minutes away from giving Doherty’s rebuilt Drogheda their first back-to-back wins of the season until Burns' intervention.

The 19-year-old winger began and finished the move, cutting from the right to find substitute Ben McCormack who helped the ball onto Anto Breslin.

Burns then raced to the near post to side-foot the cross past Sam Long with his weaker right foot for his second goal of the season.

Unchanged from their defeat to a stoppage time goal at Derry City a fortnight ago, St Pat's enjoyed much of the early possession in what would however prove a frustrating night for the home side.

With Evan Weir coming in at left-back the only change for Drogheda from their Louth derby win last time out, the Boynesiders had to work hard to play their way into the game.

But their endeavours paid dividends as they availed of a catalogue of errors in the Saints defence to stun the home faithful and take the lead against the run of play on 18 minutes.

Drogheda goalscorer Dayle Rooney tackles Anto Breslin of St Pat's

Weir put Darragh Nugent in down the left. There appeared little danger from the low cross, but St Pat’s midfielder Adam O’Reilly completely missed his kick in attempting to clear.

Drogheda winger Rooney was alert to collect the loose ball and blast it into the roof of the net for his first goal of the season.

It brought an almost immediate response from the home side who might have been level four minutes later.

Skipper Chris Forrester swept a pass wide left for Breslin to pick out Eoin Doyle. The shot from the edge of the area was straight into the grateful arms of Long.

Burns then worked a trick to cleverly skip by Sean Roughan on the right just past the half hour.

Mark Doyle took on the cross first time only to succeed in curling his shot over the top as it just wasn’t happening for St Pat’s.

Udinese-bound teenager James Abankwah replaced right-back Jack Scott at half-time as Clancy looked to invigorate his side.

But it was Drogheda who should have doubled their lead two minutes in.

The impressive Rooney played a sublime diagonal pass to put Weir in one-on-one on the left.

Joseph Anang stood up well to make a telling save with his feet.

St Pat’s then owned the ball for much of the remainder of the match, Mark Doyle coming close before Burns' bit of magic gave them their reward.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Joseph Anang; Jack Scott (James Abankwah h-t), Joe Redmond, Tom Grivosti, Anto Breslin; Adam O’Reilly (Adam Murphy 60), Chris Forrester; Darragh Burns, Billy King (Ben McCormack 60), Mark Doyle (Tunde Owolabi 78); Eoin Doyle.

Drogheda United: Sam Long; Georgie Poynton, Keith Cowan, Sean Roughan, Dane Massey; Gary Deegan, James Clarke; Dayle Rooney, Darragh Nugent, Evan Weir; Dean Williams (Chris Lyons 63).

Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).