Drogheda United are into the second round of the Under 19 Enda McGill Cup after a come from behind extra-time victory over Shamrock Rovers at United Park.
The Drogs fell behind 2-0 early in the second half, after a very early James Doona goal was followed up with a Luke Rossiter strike just after half-time.
Rovers goalkeeper Luke Gratzer then got injured, but with no substitute keeper on the bench he had to carry on between the sticks.
Drogheda came more into the game as the half wore on, and were awarded a penalty shortly after, which Stephen Meaney converted.
With just eight minutes remaining Mark Doyle equalised, after his initial effort was saved by Gratzer Boyle headed in the rebound.
The game headed into extra-time, and it took a superb goal to win the tie. Up stepped young James Carroll to hit a screamer of an effort from all of 25 yards into the top corner of Gratzer’s goal.
Drogheda manager Derek Boyle said he was thrilled to make it into the next round. He said, “It was a typical cup game. It had plenty of talking points.”
“We were one down at half time and then rovers got their second early in the 2nd half. Our first goal was a penalty on the hour mark which Stephen put away. That’s 6 goals in 6 games for him now. But apart from his goal-scoring his work-rate, attitude and his overall play is fantastic.”
Rovers’ keeper got injured in the second half in a challenge which meant he could only throw the ball out, and their centre-back had to take the kick-outs. This obviously impacted them, and their style of play had to change and be more direct rather then passing out from the back.”
“But I felt we created a lot of chances in the game and should have scored more, especially in the second half. Mark Doyle scored the second goal, a cross from Meaney on the left which Doyle shot and the rovers keeper pulled off an absolutely brilliant save and Doyle headed in the at the second time of asking.”
“Who knows if their keeper would have reacted quicker if he wasn’t injured. That took the game to extra time, where I felt we were the stronger team at this stage.
“Then James Carroll, who is still only U-17 scored a screamer onto the top corner with his left foot from 25 yards out. I thought rovers were very good at creating overloads in midfield which we struggled to get to grips with at times, especially in the first half. Overall I think we deserved to go through to the next round based on today’s game.”
Rovers manager Aidan Price said, “Yes very disappointed to lose from 2-0 up. I felt we were in control of the game but stopped playing our normal game.”
“The penalty gave drogheda a big lift and we were disappointed with the first two goals.”
On goalscorer Luke Rossiter Price said, “Luke is a very talented footballer who has scored some important goals for us. He was with the U-19’s last year as well and is very hard working.”
Photo Credit: Robert Goggins (Shamrock Rovers)