Drogheda claimed their first victory in nine games with a win over manager-less Bray Wanderers tonight.
It was the home side who had the best chance to open the scoring on seven minutes as Daryl Kavanagh saw his header saved by McGuinness after the young Bray keeper had parried a Jason Marks free-kick.
Drogheda were left to rue that missed chance, as a minute later, Bray hit the front through Chris Lyons. A corner from Cassidy was headed on by Douglas and the ball fell to Lyons, who slotted home with ease into the far corner.
The game then went through a quiet spell for 25 minutes until Drogheda carved out what was their best chance of the half.
Duffy did well on the right, and cut the ball back to Kavanagh, who touched it on to Hughes but the former Athlone Town man saw his shot gathered at the second attempt by Stephen McGuinness.
Drogheda came out flying in the second half and were level on 46 minutes as Sean Brennan tapped home from a brilliant ball in from the right by Lee Duffy.
The home side then hit the front on 55 minutes as a Jason Marks corner was headed in off the bar by captain Mick Daly.
Three minutes later and it was 3-1. It came through another Marks corner. This time it was met by the head of Alan Byrne, his effort was going wide but Kavanagh was there to bundle it in at the back post.
Bray did find a way back into the game on 68 minutes as Peter McGlynn headed home a Cassidy corner.
However, Drogheda made sure of the victory with three minute to play as substitute Mulvenna tapped home a cut back from Carl Walshe following a well-worked Drogheda move.
Lee Duffy & Jason Marks
There wasn’t one stand out player from this game but MOTM has to be between Lee Duffy and Jason Marks. Duffy caused the Bray defence problems throughout and was involved in the lead up to the majority of the goals.
Marks, playing out of position at left-back, grabbed himself two assists from corners and his deliveries from free-kicks and crosses were dangerous throughout.
Set Piece Defending
Again, no stand-outs here either but it would have to be both teams’ defending from set-pieces, especially corners, as both of the Bray goals came from Cassidy deliveries from the corner, as did both goals that Jason Marks assisted.
The Crowd Pleaser
Drogheda’s second goal, through captain Mick Daly. The goal gave Drogheda the lead and the atmosphere raised to the highest it had been in the game, pushing Drogheda forward to grab a third minutes later.
Peter McGlynn vs Mick Daly & Lee Duffy
This was a battle that went on throughout the night, especially in the second half. McGlynn won this battle in the first half as he caused problems for Drogheda and went close to doubling the Bray lead with one of his chances.
However, in the second half this battle was won by the two Drogheda players. They came together numerous times, with McGlynn being booked on one occasion for putting his hand in Duffy’s face. The majority of decisions in this battle went the way of the Drogheda players, who both played a key role in the victory for the home side.
What Happens Next?
The win tonight sees Drogheda move to 9th, above Sligo who lost to Drogheda’s next opponents, Cork City. The Boynesider travel to Turners’ Cross on Monday in a game that has been brought forward two months due to the Leesiders’ participation in Europe.
Bray remain in 11th, as Limerick lost to Bohemians. Bray’s next task is a tough home game against St. Patrick’s Athletic, whose assistant manager Darius Kierans was in United Park tonight, watching the Seagulls, after Pat’s derby against Rovers was postponed.
Drogheda United: Schlingermann; Daly (C), Byrne, Gorman, Marks; Maher (Dunne 36’), Hughes (O’Reilly 90+1’); Duffy, Walshe, Brennan (Mulvenna 80’); Kavanagh.
Unused Subs: Farrell, Buckley, McGowan, Brady.
Bray Wanderers: McGuinness; Cooney, McNally, Douglas, Barker; McEvoy (Scully 78’), Kelly, Hanlon, McGlynn; Cassidy (C), Lyons (Onwubiko 73’).
Unused Subs: Kane, O’Reilly, Mitchell, Gallagher, McDonagh.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.