“Partners” pay for slow start away to “Drogs”.
The Monaghan United / Cavan Football Partnership SSE Airtricity Under 17 National League side made the short trip along the M1 on Sunday afternoon to take on a rejuvenated Drogheda United team on a United Park pitch that was in perfect condition. The hosts were coming of the back of a tremendous away victory against Derry City and they started the much sharper than a much changed “Partners” team. The Monaghan United / Cavan FP Management team had decided to introduce Lewis Gibson, Lorcan Murnaghan and Seosamh Sheerin from the start and the visitors struggled to get into the pace of the game early on with Drogheda zipping the ball around on a perfect surface. The “Drogs” opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Aaron McNally picked out James Carroll with an inch perfect in field pass and Carroll some 25 yards from goal let fly with an unstoppable right foot screamer that gave Luke Perkins no chance. The “Partners” nearly responded straight away after Jerome Abekamwale was fouled on the left wing, Karl Cosgrove’s in swinging cross was volleyed acrobatically over the crossbar by Adam O’Connor. The home team dominated the proceedings for the next 25 minutes with the clever Sean Peat and the strong athletic Tom Adjeynka causes all sorts of problems for the visiting side’s back 3 of O’Connor, Cosgrove and Luke Donohoe. The “Drogs” had a great chance to extend their lead in the 26th minute from a free-kick by McNally that bobbled around the “Partners” 6 yard box before Perkins got a great block on a shot by Peat and Cianan Kelly completed the clearance from off the goal line. The visitors eventually got into the pace of the game and Murnaghan had an effort saved by Mark Devlin after being set up by Jerome and 3 minutes later Murnaghan glanced a header wide from a Cosgrove corner. A minute later came the “Partners” best opportunity when Sheerin picked out Jerome inside the area and his sweetly struck half volley had to be spectacularly saved by Devlin. The “Partners” now were the better side and were dominating possession at this stage and Ify Nzewi saw his header drift wide of the upright in the 41st minute. Within a minute Gibson had created another chance by picking out Kelly inside the “Drogs” area but his toe-poke never troubled Devlin’s goal. Into added on time at the end of the first half both teams had opportunities. Firstly Nzewi broke free but shot straight at Devlin then in a quick counter-attack Cosgrove had to clear off his line after Adjeynka had rounded Perkins.
Half Time Drogheda United 1 Monaghan United / Cavan FP 0.
The 2nd half started again with the hosts setting the pace early on. Again the combination of Cosgrove and Murnaghan from corner kicks worked in the 51st minute, as the slight winger managed to get a header onto Cosgrove’s whipped cross but again it failed to hit the target. Drogheda had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead 3 minutes later when Karl Spooner raced to the byline before picking out Adjeynka who should have done better with his header. Jerome broke free on the “Partners” left in the 56th minute but again Nzewi’s header failed to trouble Devlin. A minute later the visitors put together their best move of the match. Shane Duffy and Gibson combined in midfield before Duffy threaded a ball into Murnaghan 30 yards from the Drogheda goal, he placed a defence splitting pass into Nzewi’s path but Devlin raced off his line to clear the danger. Dean Connolly was introduced for Kelly after 68 minutes to add fresh legs to the “Partners” midfield. The game swung again in Drogheda’s favour as they went looking for a 2nd goal and it eventually came in the 71st minute when Spooner picked out an unmarked Peat at the back post with a pinpoint cross and he steered his header beyond Perkins reach. The “Partners” introduced Luke Molloy and Callum Ross-Lynch for Jerome and Gibson in the 77th minute and within a minute Ross-Lynch had struck the “Drogs” crossbar with a thunderous effort after being set up by Sheerin. The change in personnel seemed to have its effect as the visiting side reduced the arrears in the 80th minute when Connolly dispossessed a Drogheda midfield before passing to Sheerin whose well placed pass put Nzewi 1 – v- 1 with Devlin and the striker made no mistake by slipping the ball under the advancing Keeper and into the net. This should have drove the “Partners” forward but they lacked that control and quality to really test a well-disciplined Drogheda United defence and the game finished with the “Drogs” well in control.
Final Score Drogheda United 2 Monaghan United / Cavan FP 1.
Team Luke Perkins, Luke Donohoe, Adam O’Connor, Karl Cosgrove, Seosamh Sheerin, Lewis Gibson, Shane Duffy, Cianan Kelly, Jerome Abekamwale, Ify Nzewi and Lorcan Murnaghan.
Substitutes Used: Dean Connolly for Kelly 68 minutes, Luke Molloy and Callum Ross-Lynch for Gibson and Abekamwale 77 minutes. Unused Substitutes Jordan Corraway and Daniel Murdock.