Galway United 1-2 Drogheda United
By Oisín Bradley
Ten-man Galway United suffered a setback in their hopes to make the First Division play-offs as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Drogheda United in Eamonn Deacy Park.
It was a bright start from Galway, who took the lead via the head of Wilson Waweru, however that would be where the brightness under the floodlights ended, and Brandon Bermingham and Conor Kane flipped the advantage on its head before half time.
The hosts received a red card that was controversial at the very least to make matters worse before the switch in sides, and Bermingham showed predatory instincts to tuck away on 60 minutes and put the game beyond doubt.
The men from the banks of the Corrib made a solitary change to their XI from their resounding 6-2 victory over Longford Town, with Conor Barry making way in midfield for Francely Lomboto, while there was one difference between the team-sheets for the Drogs’ also, with Brandon Bermingham coming in for James Clarke as they looked to bounce back from their defeat against a resurgent Athlone Town last time out.
Ten minutes in, the men in white’s defence was made sweat by a monstrous Marc Ludden throw, however the Corribsiders failed to get any purchase as it fizzed across the slick surface.
Drogheda were asking questions of Adriano Reale after Derek Prendergast went to ground on the edge of the area, however the man in the middle waved those away correctly.
It took Galway all of 18 minutes to take the lead courtesy of Wilson Waweru. After a well-placed corner from the boot of Shane Duggan, the rangy and powerful Waweru rose the highest with a strong leap to nod past net-minder David Odumusu to edge the hosts ahead.
Tim Clancy’s charges were trying to cause issues, however net-minder Michaél Schlingermann had little worry in the opening half hour that the net would be rippled, save a solitary tame header from Derek Prendergast midway through the half.
Four minutes after the opener, Galway had another chance to double Drogheda’s deficit. Waweru turned supplier this time, feeding Francely Lomboto who bore down on goal. Lomboto’s attempt was strong, and Drogheda centre-back Conor Kane deflected the ball away from the ‘keeper. The ball seemed destined for the top corner, however Kane’s blushes were spared by the left upright.
Ten minutes from time, Brandon Bermingham pounced to bring the game back level. Full-back James Brown found space in the right pocket and swung in to pose questions of a stretched Galway defence. Bermingham repaid his manager’s faith to convert with his left into the corner powerfully to make it 1-1.
In the 41st minute it would be Drogheda who had another, this time courtesy of Conor Kane with a cracker. Kane found himself in some space and unleashed a thunderous strike into the top right corner for a goal that would be fit to grace any stage.
This wouldn’t be the last talking point of Act One. After a clash between a consortium of players in the 44th minute tempers slightly flared again as the clock edged towards half-time.
Galway United went down to 10 men as the clock ticked into the red, with Stephen Christopher controversially sent off for a challenge on Jake Hyland who went down under minimal contact much to the fury of John Caulfield and his charges. Caulfield was booked himself for his remonstrations in the 45th minute which continued as they entered the tunnel at the changeover.
Galway rang the changes at half-time, with last game’s hat-trick hero Carlton Ubaezuonu looking to make his mark on the encounter from the bench. Corners seemed to be the Achille’s Heel of Drogheda, and the other half-time sub almost leveled proceedings again as his rocket of a header cannoned off the bar two minutes into the second 45.
The men from United Park are second in the league table, and they displayed why in their game-play, passing around the back before flicking a switch and exposing the host’s one-man deficit.
Drogheda got their third to leave Galway at the base of a mountain bang on the hour mark. The ball fell kindly to Brandon Bremingham after a scuffed Galway clearance in the box, and while it was a simple chance, the midfielder made no mistake with the finish, slotting into the net.
Galway substitute Conor Barry tried his luck with an ambitious long shot to try and claw his side’s way back into the contest, however a smart parry from Odomusu quashed the chance. Odomusu was quick out of the traps seconds later to claim Enda Curran’s pinpoint cross.
Galway tried to ask questions of a side content to leave it at 3-1, however the spark just seemed to be lacking on the park. Ultimately, 3-1 was what it finished, and Galway will need to take all the marbles away at league leaders Bray and their promotion rivals Cabinteely to stand any chance of playing top-flight football in 2021.
Galway United: Micheál Schlingermann, Jack Lynch, Marc Ludden, Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent, Shane Duggan(C)(Conor Barry 67′), Shane Doherty(Christopher Horgan 67′), Stephen Christopher, Francely Lomboto(Enda Curran HT), Sam Warde, Wilson Wawero(Carlton Ubaezuono HT).
Drogheda United: David Odomosu, James Brown, Conor Kane, Derek Prendergast, Hugh Douglas, Chris Lyons, Jake Hyland(C), Mark Doyle, Brandon Bermingham(Adam Wixted 76′), Luke Heeney(James Clarke 61′), Mark Hughes.
Referee: Adriano Reale.