A Mark Sandford goal early in the second half sent Shels through to the second round of the EA Sports Cup, leaving Johnny McDonnell’s Drogheda to rue their missed chances.
In what was a fairly even encounter, it was Drogheda who had the most of the ball in the opening ten minutes. However, while they looked promising going forward, the home side never created any goalscoring opportunities.
The first real chance of the game fell to Shels on 11 minutes. After a mistake at the back by Drogheda, the ball fell to Sandford but he was denied by Schlingermann in the Drogheda goal.
Minutes later, it was Drogheda who had the chance to go in front but Tiarnan Mulvenna dragged his shot wide. Shelbourne should have gone ahead on 24 minutes but Sean Heaney saw his bullet header from Gareth Coughlan’s corner brilliantly saved by Schlingermann.
The sides went in level at the break with the only other chance of note being a Daryl Kavanagh effort from 25 yards, which Dave Ryan gathered at the second attempt.
Drogheda could have taken the lead on 48 minutes. Lee Duffy hit the post, the ball bobbled along the line and Dave Ryan jumped on it before Duffy was able to tap home the rebound.
Seconds later the visitors were in front. Mark Sandford saw his first effort cleared off the line by Drogs captain Alan Byrne only for the ball to fall right back to him. He made no mistakes at the second time of asking and smashed the ball into the roof in the net.
The visitors could have doubled their lead on 69 minutes as Alan Kehoe ran through a number of Drogheda players, only to see his eventual effort put behind for a corner by Schlingermann. From that corner, Shels had another chance to score but Sean Heaney sent his free header well wide.
A goalmouth scramble with 18 minutes left to play would turn out to be Drogheda’s best chance of equalising. Tiarnan Mulvenna saw his shot saved by Ryan before Rooney hit his effort straight at the keeper and Shels somehow cleared the ball away.
Drogheda again pressed in the final few minutes but could not break down the visiting side, who hung on for the win and progressed to the next round
Drogheda now turn their attentions to the league on Friday where they face a tough task in Owen Heary’s Sligo Rovers while Shelbourne will be looking to pick up their first league win away to UCD.
Drogheda United: Schlingermann; Buckley, Yadolahi, Byrne (C), Gorman; Maher, Dunne (Brennan 77’); Duffy, Walshe (Rooney 70’), Mulvenna; Kavanagh (Scott 66’).
Subs not used: Connolly, Daly, Marks, O’Reilly.
Shelbourne: Ryan; Doyle (C), Robinson, Heaney, Kehoe; Donnelly (Hughes 85’); O’Sullivan, Coughlan, Earley (Osam 73’), Keegan (Walsh 45’); Sandford.
Subs not used: Murray, Brady, Gannon, Grimes.
Pundit Arena Man of the Match: Alan Kehoe (Shelbourne).
Gerard Grimes, Pundit Arena