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Dean Williams penalty earns Drogheda derby triumph

Dean Williams’ 50th minute spot kick was enough for the Drogs to win.

Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

Drogheda United 1 

Dundalk 0 

Barry Landy reporting from United Park 

DROGHEDA UNITED EARNED their second win of the season – and left Dundalk still searching for theirs – with a Louth derby victory over Dundalk at Head In The Game Park.

Dean Williams’ 50th-minute spot kick was enough for the Drogs to win the 168th edition of this rivalry – and just their 37th win in those games.

The winner elicited a huge roar from the United faithful who will hope this result breathes life into a season that many predict will be one of struggle for the Boynesiders.

It wasn’t all positive for the hosts. There were unsavoury scenes at the end of the game when a number of opposing fans clashed on the pitch. Scuffles broke out but were soon brought to an end by stewards and Gardai.

the-players-enter-the-pitch-ahead-of-the-game Source: Tom Maher/INPHO

Drogheda began the game knowing it had been little over eight years since they had enjoyed a home league win over their local rivals. Dundalk won both trips to Head In The Game Park last term, winning three of their four league clashes in total – each by a single goal.

The three matchwinners – Han Jeongwoo, Michael Duffy and Daniel Cleary – have all since departed. Mark Doyle, the Drogs’ two-goal hero in their Oriel Park victory last term – now plays for St Pat’s.

The two Louth sides had managed a combined two wins from 11 league outings prior to Dundalk’s short hop down the M1 for this clash. Strugglers Finn Harps and UCD were the losing sides so there was a sense of intrigue pre-match over how the sides matched up.

Stephen O’Donnell conceded this week that Dundalk’s glory days are behind them now with the team having undergone a major reset on and off the pitch in the last six months. Their aspirations will surely be higher than United’s however. Finishing above Harps and the Students in the scrap towards the foot of the table will be paramount for them.

The sides exchanged chances in an even enough first half. Williams and Dane Massey had efforts that required goal line clearances to keep the game scoreless. Pat Hoban and Andy Boy le had glimpses of goal at the other end.

The game’s only goal arrived five minutes into the second half, after Darragh Nugent had gone down in the area under Greg Sloggett’s challenge. Rob Hennessy pointed to the spot and Williams took aim, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

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Ada Foley hit the crossbar with a long range thunderbolt and went close late on too. Sub Steven Bradley had Dundalk’s best efforts. The first forced a save from Sam Long. The second curled just wide.

Drogheda deserved the victory but will feel let down by the supporters who tainted a special night at the very end.

Drogheda United: Sam Long; Georgie Poynton (Andrew Quinn, 83), Sean Roughan, Keith Cowan, Dane Massey; Gary Deegan, James Clarke; Adam Foley, Darragh Nugent, Dayle Rooney; Dean Williams (Chris Lyons, 68).

Dundalk: Nathan Sheppard; Lewis Macari (David McMillan, 71), Mark Connolly, Andy Boyle, Sam Bone; Daniel Williams (Paul Doyle, 71), Robbie Benson, Greg Sloggett, Joe Adams (Keith Ward, 46); John Martin (Steven Bradley, 46), Patrick Hoban.

Referee: Rob Hennessy

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