Drogheda United host Cabinteely at United Park on Friday evening as both sides look to return to winning ways, with their last victories coming in their opening league games against Waterford United and Athlone Town respectively.
Drogheda were unbeaten going into their encounter with Shelbourne last week but the Boynesiders fell to their first league defeat in Tolka Park. Pete Mahon’s side found themselves 2-0 down inside 17 minutes and despite having plenty of chances to score, their poor start to the game had left them with too much of a mountain to climb before Shelbourne finally killed the game off with a third goal in the second half to run out 3-0 winners.
Speaking to Droghedaunited.ie, Pete Mahon said that despite the scoreline, he felt his side had played well on the night after their slow start and insisted that the number of players his side were missing was no excuse for the result.
“I think 3-0 looks a dreadful scoreline on paper but it doesn’t really reflect the game. When you find yourself behind after only four minutes it’s always going to be tough but to then gift them a second gave us a mountain to climb and it’s a shame because we played quite well on the night.
“I thought we were very unfortunate not to score and we hit the post on a couple of occasions too. We were missing a lot of players but that’s no excuse as the rest of the squad is here to fill in when others are unavailable but we just weren’t ruthless enough in either penalty area and that’s why we were beaten.”
Drogheda somehow come into this game with a negative goal difference. The shock of this stat is because of the number of chances the Louth side have created in their league games to date. However, as in the draws against Cobh and Athlone, they were yet again not ruthless enough in front of goal, something Mahon also pointed out.
“We always look back at each game on DVD to analyse them and there is no doubt that we should have more goals and points on the board at this stage of the season. We had plenty of chances to finish Cobh off before the red card and we threw away two points at home to Athlone by conceding at the death.”
Speaking of Cabinteely, Mahon told the club website that his players will be looking to set the record straight and that he is confident his side will get the right result should they dictate the game and remain composed.
“Cabinteely have done something we haven’t been able to do this season; they’ve beaten Athlone and drew away to Shelbourne so they’re clearly a decent side. We know that we need to start on the front foot and put them under pressure so that we can play our game.
“We have some important players back from injury and suspension and I’m sure the lads want to set the record straight. Once we maintain our composure and dictate the pace of the game, I’m confident we’ll get the right result.”
In team news, Pete Mahon will again have to plan without experienced captain Sean Thornton as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that will keep him on the sidelines for a few more weeks. Jake Hyland remains doubtful with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the defeat to Shels while Colm Deasy returns. Mahon will also have a full set of strikers to choose from as Sam O’Connor and Liam Donnelly return following injury and suspension respectively.
This will be just the second time Cabinteely have faced Drogheda, having lost 3-1 to the Louth side in the second round of the FAI Cup. Current Drogheda player Jamie McGlynn was the goalscorer for Cabinteely that day and he may get a chance to face his former club. There are two ex-Drogs in the Cabinteely squad, in the shape of their captain Victor Ekanem and promising young striker Ollie Hamzat. However, Ekanem will miss this game as he continues his recovery from injury.
Cabinteely started the season off on a positive note with a 2-1 victory over Athlone Town before falling to a 2-1 defeat against UCD. Eddie Gormley’s side then drew with Shelbourne before last week losing 2-0 to Waterford United.
Like Drogheda, Cabinteely have a very young squad. In fact, Cabinteely have just one player over the age of 23, in injured captain Victor Ekanem. Cabo’s four goals have come through Ben Hanrahan, Joe Doyle and Michael Brown so far this season and if they are to win in Drogheda, you would expect teenagers Hanrahan and Doyle to have a big say in proceedings.
In team news, Cabinteely have no players suspended and with no team news announced, it is believed Victor Ekanem is the only player missing through injury.
Injured: Sean Thornton (ankle).
Doubtful: Jake Hyland (hamstring).
Injured: Victor Ekanem.
Last (and only) Previous Meeting
FAI Cup, 29 May 2015: Drogheda United 3-1 Cabinteely.
Drogheda United 11/20, Draw 29/10, Cabinteely 5/1.
United Park, 7:45 pm.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena