Derry City denied victory at Drogheda United

Drogheda United 1, Derry City 1

Striker James Akintunde celebrates scoring his fifth goal in five games, to give Derry City the lead at Drogheda United.
Striker James Akintunde celebrates scoring his fifth goal in five games, to give Derry City the lead at Drogheda United.
Striker James Akintunde celebrates scoring his fifth goal in five games, to give Derry City the lead at Drogheda United.

Derry City had to settle for a share of the spoils for the third game running, as Drogheda United came from behind to secure a point, at Head in the Game Park.

Ruaidhrí Higgins' men had enough chances to win the action packed encounter, but a combination of some poor finishing and big saves by Drogheda goalkeeper Colin McCabe, meant they only managed to get a point.

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Midfielder Will Patching and winger Ryan Graydon had glorious one-on-one chances, which McCabe kept out and a stunning Dayle Rooney free-kick cancelled out James Akintunde's first half goal, meant that the Brandywell men left Drogheda a frustrated side.

Derry City's Patrick McEleney sees his curling strike around Drogheda United's Keith Cowan flash just wide.
Derry City's Patrick McEleney sees his curling strike around Drogheda United's Keith Cowan flash just wide.
Derry City's Patrick McEleney sees his curling strike around Drogheda United's Keith Cowan flash just wide.

The Candy Stripes, who before kick-off announced the signing of Jordan McEneff on a short term deal, made two changes to last week's side which drew with champions Shamrock Rovers.

Winger Michael Duffy, was given his first start of the season and striker Akintunde also came into the starting line-up, with Jamie McGonigle and Declan Glass dropping to the bench.

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Derry skipper Patrick McEleney went close to giving his side the lead on three minutes, but his curling 20 yard strike, which had McCabe beaten, whistled just wide.

With their tails up City continued to push forward and some neat play by McEleney and Duffy down the left ended with Akintunde's close range shot at the near post, saved by a diving McCabe.

McCabe came to his side's rescue on six minutes as Georgie Poynton's terrible cross field pass only found Patching, but with only the Drogheda keeper to beat, the Derry midfielder's shot from just inside the box was deflected over by the big shot-stopper.

Soon after a clever ball over the top by Ciaran Coll released Akintunde, who after racing away from Andrew Doyle, saw his attempted lob over a stranded McCabe, sail well off target.

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Moments later Akintunde again caused problems for the home side, this time he went down under the challenge of McCabe, but rightfully referee Damien MacGraith penalised the Derry striker, who did go down rather easily and instead awarded the home side a free-kick.

Derry deservedly took the lead on 39 minutes as Cameron Dummigan robbed Evan Weir before his low right wing cross found Akintunde inside the box, he showed super strength to roll away from Keith Cowan, before calmly side footing the ball home with weaker left foot into McCabe's bottom right hand corner.

The home side went close to levelling things on 50 minutes as Dean Williams' 20 yard free-kick, which was well hit, had to be tipped over by City keeper Brian Maher.

Drogheda did equalise three minutes later with a goal of the season contender, as Rooney's stunning 25 yard free-kick, gave Maher no chance and flew into the keeper's top left hand corner.

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Soon after the visitors missed a golden chance to regain the lead as Duffy released Graydon, but after breaking the offside trap the ex-Longford Town man saw his close range shot saved by McCabe.

Derry were fortunate not to go a goal behind twice in quick succession on 64 minutes as firstly left-back Weir saw his low strike kept out by Maher and Rooney's follow-up shot from the edge of the box, which had the City keeper, came back off the post.

City's frustrating night was summed up on 80 minutes after a mix-up when Declan Glass replaced Patrick McEleney, however the Derry bench had wanted to take a tired looking Patching off and with the former Dundalk duo now both off the pitch, the ex-Manchester City starlet was ordered to come back on and play the remaining minutes.

Drogheda United: Colin McCabe, Evan Weir, Andrew Quinn, Keith Cowan, Darragh Markey, Gary Deegan, Dylan Grimes (Adam Foley 84), Dayle Rooney, Dean Williams, Darragh Nugent, Georgie Poynton.

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Derry City: Brian Maher, Cameron Dummigan, Mark Connolly, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll; Sadou Diallo, Patrick McEleney (Declan Glass 80), Will Patching; Ryan Graydon, James Akintunde (Jamie McGonigle 76), Michael Duffy (Brandon Kavanagh 76).

Referee: Damien MacGraith.