Derry City 1, Drogheda United 1
AARON McEneff’s dubious second half penalty kept Derry City FAI Cup hopes alive as they fought back to earn a replay against First Division outfit Drogheda United.
Drogheda had stunned the Brandywell attendance when they capitalised on a mistake by City skipper, Ryan McBride on 32 minutes and striker, Sam O’Connor found the net at the second attempt.
It was one-way traffic in the second half and Rory Patterson had his penalty kick saved superbly by man of the match, Stephen McGuinness on 56 minutes.
Derry midfielder, McEneff twice hit the woodwork from long range shots before the Candystripes’ new signing, Luckas Schubert was adjudged to have been brought down inside the area by McGuinness.
And McEneff made no mistake when slotting in the equaliser to ensure a replay at United Park next Tuesday night.
The visitors started confidently and Aaron Ashe forced the first save of the game from Gerard Doherty after three minutes when he came in from the left wing and shot low towards goal but the Derry keeper gathered well.
Adam Wixted stole a yard on Dean Jarvis on the right and sent an inviting cross toward the Sam O’Connor and the striker’s looping header went over the crossbar from 12 yards.
Josh Daniels, making his first start of the season, was gifted a glorious chance on 20 minutes when Aaron McEneff sent him through on goal, but his close range shot was saved superbly by the feet of Stephen McGuinness.
Derry were churning through the gears and following a neat move involving McEneff and Rory Patterson, Conor McCormack’s scuffed shot looked destined for the corner of the net but was superbly turned behind the post by McGuinness.
The Boynesiders then stunned the Brandywell when City skipper McBride’s misjudged back-pass left Doherty stranded. The ball was intercepted by O’Connor who had two attempts to beat the Derry keeper who saved the first and his second strike nestled into the corner of the net.
The Candystripes responded with a decent long range strike by Keith Ward which was deflected behind.
And from the resultant corner McBride’s powerful header looked to be heading into the net but Sean Brennan somehow managed to bravely head it clear.
It was all one-way traffic at the start of the second half and McEneff’s stunning 30 yard strike crashed off the underside of the crossbar two minutes after the restart.
Kenneth Costello clipped the heels of Daniels inside the Drogs penalty and referee, Paul Tuite pointed to the spot. However, Patterson’s penalty was turned around the post by a strong hand of McGuinness on 56 minutes who guessed correctly to his right.
McEneff then tried his luck again from distance but his shot hit the top of the crossbar and went behind.
Drogheda continued to frustrate the home side but Jarvis really should have done better at teh back post from Barry McNamee’s inswinging corner on 70 minutes but the left back headed the wrong side the post.
Derry were awarded a second penalty kick when Austrian debutante, Schubert was brought to ground by McGuinness on the edge of the area and the referee signalled for a spotkick.
Up stepped McEneff who slotted the ball into the left hand corner of the net with a cool finish to get City back on level terms with 73 minutes gone.
Schubert then hit the outside of the post after getting onto the end of Jarvis’ cutback in stoppage time.
Derry City: G. Doherty; N. Vemmelund, R. McBride, A. Barry, D. Jarvis; C. McCormack, A. McEneff; K. Ward ( L. Schubert 61), B. McNamee (C. McDermott 86), J. Daniels; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used - S. Patton, J. Allan, N. Boyle, P. McClean, R. Curtis.
Drogheda Utd: S. McGuinness; K. Costello, N. Cooney, L. Gallagher, S. Dunne; A. Wixted (E. Kirwan 55), J. Hyland, A. Molloy, S. Brennan ( (S. Thornton 80); S. O’Connor (L. Donnolly 68); Subs Not Used - P. Dunican, J. McGlynn, J. Jackson.
Referee - Paul Tuite (Dublin)