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McDermott double seals Drogheda's drop as Candystripes close in on Europe

The Louth club are destined for division 1 with four games still to play in the season.

Image: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Derry City 2

Drogheda United 1

DERRY CITY CONDEMNED condemned Drogheda United to life back in the First Division as the Candystripes closed in on European qualification with victory at Maginn Park.

Two goals in the space of 13 first half minutes from Conor McDermott and Ronan Curtis handed City the perfect start but it was far from easy as Drogheda made a fight of it in the second half.

And despite a late consolation through substitute Mark Doyle, their relegation was confirmed with four games to go.

Kenny Shiels made three changes from the team which lost heavily to Bray last week with Darren Cole and Dean Jarvis both returning at the expense of Eoin Toal and Jamie McIntrye who dropped to the bench.

Harry Monaghan was also handed a rare start in midfield as he replaced the club’s joint leading scorer, Aaron McEneff in a surprising alteration to Shiels starting XI.

The City boss deployed three at the back in an attacking formation as he desperately attempted to make amends for last week’s 5-0 demolition at home to Bray and it reaped its rewards as they hit the front with just three minutes on the clock as they capitalised on a howler of a backpass.

Drogheda right-back, Conor Kane attempted to play it back to his keeper from inside his own area but the alert McDermott intercepted and rounded Stephen McGuinness before slotting home.

The home side doubled their lead on 13 minutes following a fantastic counter attack involving Barry McNamee and Rory Patterson.

Patterson sent McDermott scampering clear on the right and his pinpoint cross to the near post was poked into the net by Curtis – his eighth of the season.

Drogheda carved open the City defence on the half hour mark when Stephen Elliott sent Richie Purdy through on goal but Cole recovered superbly with a well-timed tackle to win the ball.

Ronan Curtis and Lloyd Buckley Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

Moments later Derry wing-back, Ben Doherty slipped Curtis in behind the Drogs defence with a sublime pass but the City winger’s side-footed effort was parried away by McGuinness.

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Sean Brennan forced a decent save from Gerard Doherty on 41 minutes but his strike was at a good height for the Derry keeper who beat it away.

Barry McNamee, who netted a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture back in March, fizzed a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar while Patterson blasted over just before the interval.

Derry had a gilt-edged chance to increase their lead 60 seconds into the second half when Patterson whipped in a cross from the left but substitute, Lukas Schubert’s wayward header went harmlessly over.

It was far from comfortable for the home side and Drogheda came close to reducing the deficit on the hour mark when Adam Wixted’s dangerous cross was directed just wide of the near post by Aaron Barry.

Derry had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping out Shane Elworthy’s header on 75 minutes with at terrific save.

At the other end McGuinness stood tall to parry away Ben Doherty’s left footed strike from 25 yards. And the Drogs keeper did well to deny Harry Monaghan’s close range downward header on 80 minutes from Nicky Low’s free-kick.

McNamee weaved his way into the penalty area in the dying seconds but his strike hit the post before Drogheda sub, Mark Doyle added that late consolation.

Derry City: G. Doherty; C. McDermott (L. Schubert h-t), A. Barry, D. Cole, D. Jarvis; B. Doherty, H. Monaghan, N. Low, R. Curtis; B. McNamee; R. Patterson; Subs Not Used – E. Grimes, A. McEneff, J. Dolny, J. McIntyre, S. Todd, E. Toal.

Drogheda Utd: S. McGuinness; C. Deasy (M. Doyle 81), L. Buckley, D. Mulcahy, C, Kane; A. Wixted, S. Brennan, R. Purdy, S. Elworthy; R. McEvoy (J. Bayly,74); S. Elliott; Subs Not Used – K. Farragher, L. Gallagher, R. Masterson, J. Hollywood, D. Sweeney.
Referee – John McLoughlin (Roscommon)

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