League Report: Drogheda United 1 - 0 Sligo Rovers


Drogs fans Credit: Larry McQuillan (ETPhotos)

A single Adam Foley goal was enough to hand Drogheda United their first win of 2023 and send Sligo Rovers home pointless after an intense encounter at Weavers Park on Friday night.

Drogheda were the first team to get their claws into this game, bossing early possession and creating the early chances. Dayle Rooney piled in a shot that drifted wide and Adam Foley blasted a shot into the Sligo side-netting before a rogue drone halted proceedings after 21 minutes.

There was a four minute delay while everyone waited for the airborne menace to get bored and go away and once play resumed it was Drogheda who again threatened after 27 minutes, Conor Keeley heading Rooney’s free kick over the Sligo bar.

Rooney created another chance for Drogheda on 33 minutes when his inside pass found Ryan Brennan and his shot sailed just wide of the goal.

The final ten minutes of the first half saw the tide turn with Sligo creating a series of chances in a concentrated spell of attacking football.

On 35 minutes Kailin Barlow surged into the Drogheda box and was unfortunate to lose control of a wall pass returned to him by Max Mata. Three minutes later Barlow hit a belter of a shot that keeper McCabe knew little about but was in the right place to deflect up and over the bar.

Frank Livak then shot wide before Barlow again came close but fired the ball straight at McCabe, albeit with impressive power.

Drogheda took back control in the second half and took the lead just before the hour mark when Adam Foley somehow managed to hook Dayle Rooney’s cross over and beyond the dive of McNicholas.

Drogheda’s goal signaled an immediate boost in Sligo’s adrenaline levels and five minutes later there was pandemonium when Drogheda full back Elicha Ahiu took down Sligo sub Hartmann as he threatened to race in on goal.

The foul took place just outside the box and although ref Reale initially pointed to the spot he was advised otherwise by his assistant during the ensuing melee. The incident was relegated, correctly, to a free-kick which Hartmann then thundered off the underside of the Drogheda bar, down onto the goal-line and away.

Drogheda almost bagged a second with 15 minutes remaining after Draper won a challenge with McNicholas and Ryan Brennan looped a shot towards the goal, only to see a Sligo defender clear the ball off the line.

After that Drogheda fell back into preservation mode while Sligo struggled to create the chance they needed to rescue something from the game, and even six minutes of added time were not enough for the Bit o’Red.

The final whistle came with Drogheda’s clean sheet intact and their first win on the board. Sligo, meanwhile, travel back out west having suffered their first defeat of the new season.

Drogheda Utd: Colin McCabe; Elicha Ahiu, Emmanuel Adegboyega, Conor Keeley, Evan Weir; Ryan Brennan, Gary Deegan; Adam Foley ( 77), Dayle Rooney, Darragh Markey; Freddie Draper.

Subs Not Used: Fiachra Pagel (gk), Sean Brennan, Warren Davis, Luke Heeney, Jarlath Jones, Michael Leddy, Darragh Noone, Emre Topcu.

Booked: Elicha Ahiu (65).

Sligo Rovers: Luke McNicholas; Johan Brannefalk (Karl OSullivan 76), Reece Hutchinson, Nando Pijnaker, Eanna Clancy (John Mahon 85); Niall Morahan (Stefan Radosavljevic 57), Lukas Browning; Frank Livak, William Fitzgerald (Fabrice Hartmann 57), Kailin Barlow (Bogdan Vastsuk 76); Max Mata.

Subs Not Used: Richard Brush (gk), David Cawley, James Finnerty, Daniel Lafferty.

Booked: Kailin Barlow (65), Johan Brannefalk (73).

Referee: Adriano Reale

Attendance: 1,544

Extratime Player of the Match: Dayle Rooney (Drogheda United)