It was a case of two points dropped rather than one gained as Drogheda United keeper Gabriel Sava frustrated Derry City during their Airtricity League 1-1 draw at the Brandywell.

Sava was hands down man-of-the-match as he made a raft of outstanding saves to deny striker Rory Patterson in particular on numerous occasions.

Ryan McBride gave the hosts a first half lead, but Mick Daly equalised for the visitors late on.

The Brandywell men went close to taking the lead on 10 minutes, but Rory Patterson’s 25-yard free-kick, after Alan Byrne had fouled Michael Rafter, was kept out by Sava.

Patterson was inches away from giving his side the lead just before the half-hour mark when Mark Griffin’s pass found Simon Madden and his cut-back found the Derry front man, but his first time shot was outstandingly tipped over by the alert Sava.

Sava and co had no chance a minute later as the Candy Stripes deservedly broke the deadlock when Kevin Deery’s resulting corner found Ruaidhri Higgins and his header back into the box found Mark Griffin, and although the striker’s effort was cleared off the line by Philip Hand McBride gleefully headed home the loose ball.

On 40 minutes a Hand corner was only half cleared by Derry and Graham Rusk’s drive from just inside the box was headed over by substitute Thomas Crawley.

Moments later Michael Rafter was inches away from doubling Derry’s lead but his 20-yard shot was saved by Sava.

Just before the break Sava was again called into action twice in quick succession when firstly he did well to keep out Patterson’s close range shot, before getting up to deny Higgins after the midfielder had latched onto Patterson’s follow-up cross.

The Candy Stripes went close too adding a second on 55 minutes when Barry McNamee’s clever pass found an unmarked Griffin inside the Drogs box, but the striker’s left footed drive was kept out by Sava.

Just after the hour mark a defense splitting pass by Rafter found Patterson, but with only Sava to beat, the Northern Ireland international saw his close range shot kept out by the alert Drogs keeper.

Mick Cooke’s side went close on 71 minutes when Shane Grimes’ clever skill gave him some space in the City box, but his low drive was well kept out by Derry keeper Gerard Doherty.

The visitors then managed to level matters on 81 minutes when Daly bundled the ball into the net after the home side failed to clear their lines properly.

DERRY CITY: Doherty, Madden, McEleney, McBride, B McNamee; Molloy, Deery, Higgins; Griffin, Patterson, Rafter. Subs: Crawley for Deery (39); Houston for Griffin (72); Duffy for Rafter (81).

DROGHEDA UNITED: Sava, Hand, O’Connor, G Brennan, Grimes, Rusk, Cassidy, Gannon, O’Brien, Daly, Byrne. Subs: Foley for Hand (H-T); R Brennan for Cassidy (65); Hynes for Gannon (72).

Referee: Mr Declan Tomney (Dublin).