|24 July 2021||3:00 pm||FAI Cup||2021|
An Evan McLaughlin place kick proved vital for Derry City as they knocked Drogheda out of the FAI Cup this afternoon on penalties after 120 minutes of football that delivered all the drama you would expect in a cup tie.
Dinny Corcoran’s opener in the 46th minute had the Drogs in front but when Dane Massey was shown a red for a deliberate handball, and skipper James Browne was shown a second yellow for simulation, it became more than an uphill task to hold on.
They coped well however until Luke Heeney gave away a clumsy penalty at the death of the 90 minutes and Danny Lafferty converted for Derry. After an uneventful extra-time the Candystripes won 4-2 in the shootout to advance in the competition
It was a strange affair at Head in Game Park, with a real cup feel, and a real cup outcome. The visitors looked strides above their opponents but as they continued to show nothing in the final third the contest left you constantly wondering which manager was happier.
The Northerners arrived with their customary FAI Cup flair. Joe Thomson was outstanding in midfield in the first half and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe also looked lively. So it was that when Corcoran scored on the brink of half-time for Tim Clancy’s side it could only be described as a suckerpunch.
The second half was much of the same only with added controversy and drama. Derry continued to pile on the pressure but this became more of a problem for Drogheda when Dane Massey was shown red for a deliberate handball on the line in the 51st minute. Junior missed the following penalty though and Drogheda’s battle had really begun.
With ten minutes left of the 90 though, captain James Browne went down in the box claiming he was tripped, but the referee gave him a second yellow for simulation.
It seemed to be a fair shout by Browne hence a harsh decision by the ref. Drogs players understandably weren’t pleased having gone down to ten men and even Clancy was sent off for complaining.
With the away side now smelling blood, and two men up; it felt they would finish the game off but they struggled to create and so it became a very commendable defensive performance from the hosts.
However to their own despair Heeney fouled awkwardly in stoppage time and Derry had another penalty which Danny Lafferty converted, sending the game to extra time.
It was a surprisingly uneventful extra time and Derry still couldn’t break Drogheda down and the home side made it to the shootout unscathed.
Unfortunately for all their heroics they were sent packing by the Candystripes on penatlies. It finished 4-2 on spot kicks, McLaughlin slotting home the decisive one.
|United Park, Cross Lane, Fair Gate, The Borough District of Drogheda, County Louth, Leinster, A92DKR0, Ireland|