Drogheda United 0 Bohemians 1
A solitary goal just beyond the mid-point of the first half decided this one as an out of sorts Bohemians just about saw off a game Drogheda side who gave it their all over the course of the hour and a half but once again lacked a cutting edge in the final quarter of the park.
Drogheda held their own for twenty minutes but for some reason then began to look shaky at the back and it was poor defending that led to Bohemians opening goal on 24 minutes.
Joseph Ndo all too easily muscled Gavin Whelan off the ball on the left before playing it to Glen Crowe who picked out the unmarked Anto Murphy in the box who in turn had the simplest task of driving the ball to the net.
United responded positively to this reverse and caused a few anxious moments for the visitors in the aftermath of conceding.Â John Paul Kellyâs free flew through a crowded goalmouth to a surprised Whelan who only had a split second to react and guided his header just wide.
With half an hour gone Kellyâs cross from the right broke to Ian Ryan who saw his goal bound strike deflected out for a corner.Â And in added time at the end of the half David OâConnor won possession in the oppositions half and pushed forward before placing the ball into the path of Paul Crowley who fired badly wide from a good position.
Drogheda with the wind at their tails in the second half were presented with the first chance when Ken Oman was dispossessed by Robbie Farrell who saw his snap shot saved by Brian Murphy.
Minutes later Kelly stepped over Mark Dugganâs free allowing the ball run through to Paul Shiels who touched it onto Alan McNally for the defender to lift his effort over the target.
With 67 minutes on the watch Bohemians almost doubled their advantage when Ndoâs corner found Jason Byrne who shook off his marker to clip his shot only just past the angle of post and crossbar.Â
Shortly afterwards Killian Brennanâs free found Ken Oman who glanced his header narrowly wide as the defending champions went in search of the goal that would kill the game off.
Six minutes from full time Clarkeâs free bobbled dangerously in the visitors box but as Whelan was about to drive it towards goal Glen Crowe was on hand to nick it from him at the vital moment.
With a minute remaining Steve Williams was called into action for the only time over the ninety minutes when he got down well to save from Crowe.
Drogheda: Williams, Whelan, Clarke, Ryan, McNally, Shiels (Chambers 61), Kelly, Duggan, Crowley, OâConnor (King 77), Martin (Farrell 35).Â
Bohemians: Murphy, Hearty, Shelley, Deegan, McGuinness, Oman, Murphy, Ndo, Crowe, Byrne (Brennan 68), Keegan.Â
Referee: D. McKeon (Dublin).