Cillian Morrison netted his first goal for Derry City at the Brandywell in this 3-0 FAI Cup victory over Drogheda, the Letterkenny lad deservedly claiming the “man of the match” with a stunning performance.
And, if the truth be told, the visitors could so easily have been on the end of a worse hammering but for the performance of keeper, Michael Schlingerman.
While Mark Timlin and Barry McNamee failed to take advantage of quality scoring opportunities during the early stages, Derry’s pressure saw them deservedly break the deadlock in the 18th minute.
Cillian Morrison did well to retain possession on the right flank and the Derry wing-back’s inviting cross was superbly headed home by the well placed Patrick McEleney from 12 yards.
In fact, in the 36th minute Derry were extremely unfortunate not to have doubled their advantage.
A superb run by Timlin, who weaved his way into the danger area, ended when his low shot crashed off the butt of the post much to the relief of the visitors.
Timlin forced Schlingermann into a magnificent save just after the break, the Drogheda keeper diverting the striker’s effort over his crossbar.
However, four minutes later the home side did double their lead. McEleney drilled a powerful free through the Drogheda wall before Morrison pounced to forced the ball home from close range.
Derry then confirmed their place in the last eight when McNamee drove the ball to the net after it had broken to him when Timlin had been tackled by a Drogheda defender.
And it could have been even worse for Drogheda as both Aaron McEneff and Dean Jarvis were both denied by the Drogheda keeper who certainly earned his wages on the night.
Drogheda’s only clear-cut effort of the second half centred on an 83rd minute free-kick from substitute, Sean Brennan, whose effort was diverted over the Derry crossbar by Ger Doherty.
Derry City - Doherty; Cornwall, McBride, Barry; Morrison, McEneff, Lowry, McNamee, Jarvis; McEleney (Quigley, 73),,Timlin (Curtis, 76).
Drogheda United - Schlingermann; Daly, Byrne, O’Reilly, Marks; Mulvenna, Hughes, Thornton (Maher, 72), Duffy; Bayly (Brennan, 72|), McKenna (Gorman, 54).
Referee - P. Tuite (Dublin).