Derby Win For The Lilywhites At United Park
Dundalk returned to winning ways on Friday evening as they began the second half of the season with an emphatic 6-0 win over 10 man Drogheda United in the Louth Derby at United Park.
In Stephen Kenny’s 150th league game in charge of the Lilywhites, David McMillan and Ciaran Kilduff grabbed braces on the night while Michael Duffy and a sublime solo effort from Patrick McEleney ensured the champions took the derby spoils on a fine summer evening in Drogheda.
The champions tried to make a fast start with Patrick McEleney getting set away on the right hand side but his attempted chip was easy for Stephen McGuinness.
That was in the first two minutes and the game descended into some kind of battle for possession for the next twenty minutes or so.
Brian Gartland returned to the heart of the defence and captain Stephen O’Donnell was marshalling midfield and they were exerting control over the Boynesiders.
Ciaran McGuigan almost threatened for the home side but he was denied by a superb Gartland clearing header after a Killian Brennan cross.
The game changed just after the half hour mark. As a Drogheda attack broke down, the ball fell to McEleney in the right back position and as he played the ball forward he was caught late and recklessly by Thomas Byrne leaving the referee with no option but to brandish the red card.
Facing 10 men, Dundalk almost immediately took advantage. O’Donnell found space 30 yards from goal and had time to take aim and shoot. His shot could only be parried by McGuinness and it fell to the waiting McMillan who tapped home from close range.
The Drogs had a chance to equalise almost immediately when Dane Massey handled 25 yards from goal but Brennan’s free-kick went over the bar.
Dundalk made it 2-0 shortly after when a Duffy corner fell to Niclas Vemmelund at the back post. His clever chip evaded the goalkeeper and was into the path of McMillan once more and he bundled the ball home.
In almost identical circumstances, the hosts had a chance once again to equalise in almost the same position after a free-kick was awarded however it had the same result with Brennan firing over.
It was 3-0 before the break when the outstanding McEleney burst free on the left hand side. He skipped past three players, including a sliding challenge, before guiding a simply superb left footed effort to the top corner past the watching McGuinness.
Dundalk had chances to extend the lead straight after the re-start when first Duffy found himself on goal however McGuinness did well to block. It fell to McMillan who had two attempts however he couldn’t find the net from 12 yards.
Sean Gannon then found himself in the same position as Duffy was moments earlier however he squared for the supporting Robbie Benson who had his shot blocked.
Just before the hour mark it was indeed 4-0. A patient move from the back saw McEleney play the ball over the top where it was headed across goal by Thomas Stewart to the waiting Duffy and he fired a volleyed left footed effort to the top corner.
The champions were in full control and kept the ball impressively passing it from side to side with some nice flicks in between.
They did get on the scoresheet a couple more times when Ciaran Kilduff replaced McMillan who was hat-trick hunting but he scored his first in the 83rd minute when a Gartland cross was deflected into his path and he slotted past McGuinness to make it 5-0.
With the next attack it was 6-0 when Kilduff raced onto a wonderful McEleney first time through ball and fired to the net when one on one with the goalkeeper.
That proved to be the final action of note as the champions saw out the game comfortably and returned to winning ways after the midseason break.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Stephen Dunne, Ciaran McGuigan, Thomas Byrne; Sean Brennan (capt) (Mark Doyle 89) , Luke Gallagher, Ryan Masterson (Stephen Elliott 73), Ryan McEvoy, Killian Brennan (Sean Thornton 46); Adam Wixted.
Substitutes not used: Ryan Coulter (GK), Mark Griffin, Conor Kane, Stephen Elliott, Richie Purdy.
Booked: Deasy (65), S. Brennan (69)
Sent off: Byrne (31)
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Niclas Vemmelund, Dane Massey; Robbie Benson (Chris Shields 76), Stephen O’Donnell (capt); Michael Duffy (Jamie McGrath 61), Patrick McEleney, Thomas Stewart; David McMillan (Ciaran Kilduff 73).
Substitutes not used: Gabriel Sava (GK), Paddy Barrett, Sean Hoare, Conor Clifford.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)
Referee: Derek Tomney.