Report from Robert O'Reilly at United Park Drogheda United will take a narrow lead to Ballybofey on Friday night after they defeated Finn Harps 1-0 in the first leg of the play-off final at United Park. Chris Lyons stock a dramatic stoppage time w
Report from Robert O'Reilly at United Park
Drogheda United will take a narrow lead to Ballybofey on Friday night after they defeated Finn Harps 1-0 in the first leg of the play-off final at United Park.
Chris Lyons stock a dramatic stoppage time winner for the First Division side following a tense and hard-fought encounter.
Despite the visitors starting the brighter, it was Drogheda who created the first opportunity as Adam Wixted’s pinpoint delivery was met by Lyons but the forward could only head straight into the arms of Mark McGinley.
Lyons, who has already committed his future to Drogheda for next season, was denied again by McGinley on 20 minutes as the Harps keeper tipped his rising strike over the bar.
Harps missed a glorious opportunity moments later as Tony McNamee picked out Nathan Boyle at the back-post who somehow fired over the bar though his blushes were spared by the assistant referee’s offside flag.
The two sides cancelled each other out for long periods of the first-half though Harps almost took the lead before the break when Ruairi Harkin’s deep cross came back off the crossbar much to Luca Gratzer’s relief.
Drogheda were in the ascendancy for much of the second-half with substitute Stephen Meaney firing over the bar following a goalmouth scramble shortly after his introduction.
The hosts weren’t to be denied though as they struck the winner deep into stoppage time as Luke Heeney picked out Meaney who back heeled the ball into the path of Lyons who made no mistake with his 15th of the season.
There was still time for Harps to have one final attack as a long ball was brilliantly controlled by Raff Cretaro who cut inside before seeing his strike clip the post and go out of play as Drogheda held on.