Ronan Boyce scores first senior goal to end Derry City's losing run
Derry City 1 Drogheda United 1
TEENAGE defender Ronan Boyce scored his first senior goal in just his second start to salvage a point against Drogheda United and end Derry City's four game losing run.
James Brown fired Drogheda in front on 24 minutes from close range but Ramelton lad Boyce headed Derry level five minutes before the break.
It was a much improved performance from the struggling Brandywell outfit who have gone five straight league games without a win!
The point wasn't enough to lift the Candystripes off the foot of the table going into a crunch basement clash with Dundalk at Brandywell on Tuesday night.
Dundalk coaches, Fililppo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi were both interested spectators in the stand ahead of that encounter.
Drogheda, who had designs on moving to the league summit with victory, had to settle with third spot.
Devine made one change from the team which lost in midweek to Shamrock Rovers with Will Fitzgerald coming in at the expense of David Parkhouse who dropped to the bench.
The last time these sides met Derry left it late to win an FAI Cup tie at United Park 2-0 last August but it was a largely changed Drogheda side.
Tim Clancy made just the one change from the team which registered a 4-0 win over fellow newcomers Longford Town last weekend with Jake Hyland returning to the starting XI at the expense of the injured Conor Kane.
Derry midfielder Patching swung in a searching free-kick five minutes into the game but no one could get that vital touch as the ball went harmlessly out of play.
Moments later Drogheda's James Brown crossed from the right but Chris Lyons couldn't get a decent connection and his header went wide of the mark.
Patching found the run of Fitzgerald through the middle with a lovely ball over the top of the Drogheda defence on 18 minutes but the winger headed straight into the hands of Colin McCabe.
Drogheda broke the deadlock against the run of play on 24 minutes when Ronan Murray found Dane Massey at the back post. The ex-Dundalk left back skipped past Boyce and his low cross eventually broke to Brown who slotted it into the corner of the net.
For a fifth game in a row Derry found themselves behind to an early goal and given they scored just one in their opening four, the home side faced a difficult task.
The Candystripes reacted well with Jack Malone getting into the penalty area before dragging his shot wide but Drogheda were resolute and did well to stifle the home lot.
Derry were back on level terms, however, five minutes before the break as Patching's left footed cross following a short corner found Boyce four yards from goal and his powerful downward header found the net for his first senior strike!
It was no more than Derry deserved as both teams went in level at the interval.
Tim Clancy made a change at the interval with experienced centre half Hugh Douglas replaced by Jack Tuite.
Drogheda midfielder Murray tried his luck seven minutes after the break and Gartside saved at full stretch. Chris Lyons was following up but Gartside managed to slide in and got his foot to the ball and the danger was cleared.
Drogheda upped the tempo and after a neat one-two with Lyons, Brown found himself in on goal but his first time effort was parried away by Gartside.
Devine, desperate for a winner, made an attack minded double substitution with Parkhjouse and Joe Thomson replacing Akintunde and Brendan Barr on 66 minutes.
Patching was warming to the occasion and when he cut inside onto his left foot at the edge of the penalty area his strike took a deflection off the head of Dan O'Reilly and went behind for a corner.
Substitute Brandon Bermingham had a glorious chance to win the match with four minutes to go when he got onto a neat pass from Jordan Adeyemo but his strike hit the side netting.
Despite a late rally by Derry they couldn't find that winning chance and their search for their opening win goes on.
Derry City: N. Gartside: R. Boyce, E. Toal, C. McJannet, C. Coll; W. Fitzgerald, J. Malone, W. Patching, D. Lafferty; B. Barr (J. Thomson 66); J. Akintunde (D. Parkhouse 66); Subs Not Used - J. Lemoignan, D. Lupnao, P. Ferry. C. McLaughlin, M Glynn, C. Porter, C. Harkin.
Drogheda Utd: C. McCabe; J. Brown, D. O'Reilly, H. Douglas (J. Tuite h-t), D. Massey; G. Deegan, J. Hyland; R. Murray (B. Bermingham 66), D. Markey (L. Heeney 80), M. Doyle; C. Lyons (J. Adeyemo 76); Subs Not Used - D. Odumosu, C. Mutawe, K. Phillips, J. Clarke, R. O'Shea.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).