A much-improved Drogheda United comfortably beat Galway United on Friday evening in a game that also saw the Boynesiders keep their first clean sheet since the opening game of the season.
It took nearly 20 minutes for the first real chance of this game to come about, as a Galway attack was brilliantly stopped by Byrne. Drogheda then countered but Sean Brennan saw his effort slip wide of the far post following good work by Duffy on the right.
The visitors, who had a bit less of the ball, had a great chance to open the scoring on 27 minutes as a mistake at the back by O’Reilly let Cunningham through one-on-one with Schlingermann. On this occasion however, it was the keeper who came out on top.
Galway were left to rue this missed chance, as six minutes later, the Boynesiders took the lead. A Hughes through ball was collected by Lee Duffy, who rounded Conor Winn in the Galway goal before easily slotting home.
The home side almost made it 2-0 just before the break as Sean Thornton saw his stunning free-kick hit the post from 25 yards out.
Similarly to the first half, it took 20 minutes for the first chance to come about. This time it was through some brilliant play from the home side. Duffy held the ball up just inside the Galway half before passing it to Marks. Marks passed it forward to Gorman who sent a terrific ball towards Duffy. His chance was eventually well cut out by Stephen Walsh.
Drogheda doubled their lead on 70 minutes and it was again Duffy who was central to the move. He cut back onto his right and saw his shot saved by Winn. However, the ball fell to the incoming Thornton, who took a touch before smashing home from 15 yards.
There was just one chance in the final 20 minutes and it fell to Galway as Gary Shanahan saw his great effort from an angle go just over the bar.
Drogheda played out the remaining minutes to claim what was a deserved win and a vitally important three points.
There was no bad performance from any Drogheda player on the park but it was Duffy who was the stand out man. Everything Drogheda did going forward was aimed for him and that paid off as he scored the first goal and played an important part in setting up the second.
The Crowd Pleaser
Sean Thornton’s goal to give Drogheda a two-goal cushion.
Drogheda had been looking for that decisive second goal and the strike 20 minutes from time by the former Sunderland midfielder gave Drogheda just that, much to the delight of the home support.
Lee Duffy vs Galway Defence
Duffy was a constant threat throughout and was key to Drogheda taking all three points. While he was caught offside on a few occasions, the Galway back four struggled all night to contain him and it was Duffy who came out on top in this battle.
What Happens Next?
Both sides now turn their attentions to the second round of the FAI Cup next weekend.
Drogheda will host league newcomers Cabinteely in the first ever meeting between the two sides while Galway host non-league outfit North End United.
Drogheda United: Schlingermann; Daly (C), O’Reilly, Byrne, Gorman; Thornton, Hughes; Whelan (Kavanagh 74’), Marks (Walshe 83’), Brennan (Maher 82’); Duffy.
Unused Subs: Connolly, Buckley, Mulvenna, Reilly.
Galway United: Winn; Rafferty (Ludden 41’), Sinnott (C), Walsh, Horgan; Shanahan, Connolly, O’Leary, Keegan; Curran (Byrne 77’), Cunningham (Molloy 70’).
Unused Subs: Oji, Cantwell, Barry, Gleeson.
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena.