Derry City 5, Drogheda United 0
DERRY City produced a clinical display to keep their season alive at Brandywell tonight as they cruised into the semi-finals of the FAI Cup with an emphatic victory over Drogheda United.
The suspended Peter Hutton watched gleefully from the stands as his side put an understrength Drogheda to the sword. And ‘man of the match’ Patrick McEleney got the home side off to a magical start with his stunning effort from 25 yards after just six minutes.
A second half brace from Rory Patterson and a cool finish from Michael Duffy saw Derry cruise before a wicked deflection from Patterson’s free-kick late in the game put the gloss on a superb performance.
Hutton’s side were unchanged from last Friday night’s drawn game but Damien Richardson was forced into making five alterations to his starting line-up with club captain Shane Grimes and midfielders, Peter McGlynn, Gavin Brennan and Gavin Holohan all suspended.
Derry got off to a dream start thanks to a stunning strike from McEleney after just six minutes. From a well worked corner kick the ball found its way to McEleney lurking on the edge of the area and he rifled the ball into the far corner of the net with a powerful left-foot strike.
At this rate McEleney, who took his season’s tally to nine goals, could almost compile a goal of the season competition of his own!
The home lot grew in confidence and almost doubled their lead on 22 minutes when Patterson chased down McNamee’s cross and laid it into the path of Stephen Dooley. However, the winger’s shot on the turn went just wide of the post.
Three minutes before the break McEleney’s corner kick was cleared toward the edge of the penalty area and Barry McNamee’s low volley was deflected behind as City continued to press.
Michael Duffy then found himself through on goal but his low shot was saved well by Michael Schlingerman on 54 minutes.
Dooley made a lung bursting run into the Drogheda box on the hour mark before slotting the ball through to Patterson and the striker’s shot from an acute angle nestled into the net to settle the growing tension at Brandywell.
Five minutes later and Barry Molloy, who was deployed in the right back role once again, screwed his left footed shot from a promising position wide of the post after McNamee found him with a first time cross.
City sealed the win on 70 minutes when Patterson won the ball back deep inside his own half and when McEleney sent Duffy scampering clear on goal, the winger cooly curled his shot across goal and into the corner of the net.
Duffy’s curling effort struck the crossbar as the visiting defence began to fall apart before Patterson added his second of the night after linking up superbly with Duffy before steering his volley into the corner on 81 minutes.
The ball found its way into the Drogheda net for a fifth and final time on 89 minutes when Patterson’s long distance free-kick too a deflection off the wall and it wrong-footed Schlingerman and crept into the corner of the net.
Derry City: G. Doherty; D. Jarvis, R. McBride, A. Barry, B. Molloy (M. Timlin 79); S. Dooley, P. Lowry (S. Houston 86), B. McNamee, M. Duffy; P. McEleney (J. Trcaey 88), R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - C. Gallagher, S. McEleney, N. Boyle, R. Curran.
Drogheda: Drogheda: M. Schlingerman; D. Doyle, A. McNally, C. McGuigan, R. Kierans; C. Brady (F. Reilly 83), S. Maher (P. Andrews 81), G. Brady (A. Wixted 74), P. Crowley, C. Walshe; D. O’Brien; Subs Not Used - D. Connolly, D. Mahon, C. O’Connor, D. Harding.
Referee - Tomas Connolly (Dublin).