Ciaran Culligan/INPHO Shelbourne’s Aodh Dervin with John Martin of Dundalk.
# Report
Dundalk left frustrated by Damien Duff's Shelbourne
A late Sean Boyd penalty cancelled out Pat Hoban’s header.

Shelbourne 1

Dundalk 1

A LATE SEAN Boyd penalty earned Shelbourne a point against Dundalk in this evening’s Premier Division fixture at Tolka Park.

Dundalk were in the driving seat, after Pat Hoban superbly headed home Keith Ward’s free kick on 69 minutes.

There wasn’t much between the sides, however, and Shelbourne will feel Boyd’s late equaliser from the spot was deserved, after the same player had been taken down by Nathan Sheppard.

Dundalk came into this fixture unbeaten from their first four games, albeit having registered just one win under their belt during that period, with their most recent match a 0-0 draw away to Sligo on Saturday.

Shels were hoping to improve on last week’s narrow 1-0 loss against Derry. Damien Duff’s men endured a mixed start overall, with one win, one draw and two losses from their opening four games.

The hosts made two changes from that Derry defeat, with Mark Coyle and Jack Moylan replaced by Shane Farrell and Jordan McEneff.

For Dundalk, Lewis Macari, Dan Williams and Daniel Kelly dropped to the bench, and John Martin, Keith Ward and Mark Hanratty came into the starting XI.

There was very little action to speak of in the opening 15 minutes. Shels, with their five-man backline, were effective in stemming Dundalk’s attacking threat, though similarly couldn’t produce much down the other end of the field.

Pat Hoban dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area amid a rare opening for the visitors after 17 minutes as Dundalk started to gain a foothold on the game.

The away side’s best attempt up to that point came midway through the first half, as Sam Bone’s drilled effort from the edge of the area forced Lewis Webb to get down well to his right and parry away to safety.

The game was becoming increasingly tense, and Bone received the first booking of the encounter for a rash two-footed challenge on Brian McManus that left both players needing treatment.

With nine minutes of the half remaining, Shels missed a golden chance in what was their first real opening of the contest. Luke Byrne made a purposeful, bursting run down the left and his low cross was met at the far post by John Ross Wilson, but the full-back’s first-time effort went well over the bar, much to the home crowd’s disappointment.

Dundalk, meanwhile, continued to look laboured going forward, with Bone’s attempted cross straight out of play shortly before the break summing up their ineptitude in that department.

It remained all square as the half-time whistle sounded, reflecting the dearth of chances at both ends.

damien-duff-before-the-game Ciaran Culligan / INPHO Shelbourne manager Damien Duff before the game. Ciaran Culligan / INPHO / INPHO

The second half began in a similar manner to much of the first, as Brian McManus lofted a free-kick straight out of play from a promising position on the right.

Sean Boyd was booked for a late challenge on Mark Connolly, with the game remaining scrappy and disjointed as it approached the hour mark.

Dundalk had brought on Daniel Kelly for Steven Bradley at half-time, but the winger appeared to pick up a knock and was himself replaced 15 minutes later.

The double change saw Dan Williams and Joe Adams introduced, with Bone the other player to depart.

After another relatively uneventful period, out of nothing, the deadlock was broken on 69 minutes.

Ward curled in a dangerous free-kick and Hoban leapt impressively to glance home a header.

Knowing they needed a greater attacking threat, Duff responded immediately by bringing on striker Dan Carr in place of Shane Farrell.

There was more of an urgency to Shels’ play now, and Carr tested Sheppard with a header as the game entered its dying stages. 

And with a few minutes remaining, Shels received a lifeline, as Boyd latched on to a long ball and was taken out by Sheppard as he did so.

The crowd demanded a red card, but the Dundalk goalkeeper got away with a booking, and the former Brentford youngster couldn’t prevent Boyd’s penalty finding the back of the net, as the young striker scored his first competitive goal for the club.

A frantic finish ensued as the sides searched for a winner, but both teams had to settle for a point ultimately.

Dundalk maintain their unbeaten start but will rue what they will consider two dropped points against a spirited Shels outfit.

Shelbourne: 25. Lewis Webb 23. Luke Byrne 4. Aaron O’Driscoll 32. Kameron Ledwidge 2. John Ross Wilson 3. Conor Kane 7. Brian McManus 16. Aodh Dervin 17. Shane Farrell (Carr 69) 22. Jordan McEneff 9. Sean Boyd 

Subs: 1. Brendan Clarke, 15. Adam Thomas 12. Jad Hakiki 20. Kyle O’Connor 24. David Toure 28. Stephen Negru 14. Daniel Carr 33. Gbemi Arubi 19. Stanley Anaebonam

Dundalk: 1. Nathan Shepperd 6. Sam Bone (Williams 61) 4. Andy Boyle 5. Mark Connolly 10. Greg Sloggett 17. Keith Ward (Doyle 75) 8. Robbie Benson 16. Steven Bradley (Kelly 46, Adams 61) 11. John Martin (Macari 82) 9. Pat Hoban 25. Mark Hanratty

Subs: 14. Peter Cherrie 2. Lewis Macari 7. Daniel Kelly 19. Dan Williams 20. Joe Adams 21. Paul Doyle 24. Mayowa Animasahun 28. Ryan O’Kane.

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)

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