Adam Foley of Finn Harps in action against Hugh Douglas, left, and James Brown of Drogheda United PIC: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Finn Harps preserved their Premier Division unbeaten record as they walked away with a point following their 1-1 draw against Drogheda United at Head in the Game Park on Saturday night.
Drogheda United . . . 1
Finn Harps . . . 1
Both clubs have started the campaign strongly, with Harps already boasting two wins from two with victories over Bohemians and Dundalk, while Drogheda ran out victorious in their opening game against Waterford before a last-minute winner saw them fall to St Pats Athletic.
It was attacking midfielder Karl O’Sullivan who edged the away side in front with a superb strike in the 56th minute.
Harps’ goal was a real beauty. Following a Harps throw into the box, Drogheda scrambled to clear the ball with defender Dane Massey attempting to head it away, only for it to land at the feet of O’Sullivan, who with the sweetest of strikes fired it into the bottom right corner.
However, while Harps appeared to be on their way to maintaining a 100%-win record, their lead only lasted six minutes, with one of the stars of the night Mark Doyle coming up trumps with the equaliser to give newly promoted Drogheda four points from three matches.
In an uneventful first half, Finn Harps were unable to really threaten the Drogheda goal.
O’Sullivan created Harps’ only true scoring opportunity in the sixth minute. After tearing down the wing, the 21-year-old saw his chance to shoot, however, the end result saw the ball just skin over the crossbar.
Finn Harps backroom staff member Tommy Harkin ahead of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Drogheda United and Finn Harps at Head in the Game Park in Drogheda Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile
It took Drogheda United slightly longer to break out of the traps.
The home side's first real chance came 24 minutes in with a great passage of play from Conor Kane who broke through the Harps defence only for Doyle to be caught slightly offside.
Moments later, Drogheda nearly caught Harps again on the backfoot.
After breaking on the counterattack, Gary Deegan played a beautiful ball out wide to Doyle who was capable of skinning past defender Ethan Boyle but unable to pass goalkeeper Mark McGinley who pulled off a superb low save.
The second half saw a much higher standard and intensity. Harps nearly took the lead immediately. With Mark Russell fancying his chances outside the box, what should’ve been perhaps a straightforward save slipped through the hands of goalkeeper David Odumosu and luckily, from a Drogheda point of view, tipped over the crossbar.
At the opposite end of the field moments later, a Drogheda corner taken by Ronan Murray saw a great low header from centre back Daniel O’Reilly which just fell into the hands of the Harps keeper.
Adam Foley, who already has three goals from three games, tried to put his team back in front in the 70th minute.
After opening up the Drogheda defence, he saw an eye for a shot, however, a poor strike easily fell into the hands of the Drogheda United goalkeeper.
Harps were left completely frustrated after what they felt should have been a penalty in the 84th minute.
A free from substitute Ryan Shanley into the Drogheda box saw Kosovar Sadiki brought down in the process, however the resulting decision saw the ball go out for a corner kick leaving manager Ollie Horgan furious with referee Adriano Reale.
The home side was not afraid to throw caution to the wind and pump players forward as they piled on the pressure in the final minutes of the match.
Drogheda substitute Darragh Markey was nearly the hero of the night if it had not been for the solid presence of Kosovar Sadiki at centre back as the sides finished all square.
This draw moves Harps back level at the top with Sligo Rovers where they are also joined by St Patrick’s Athletic, and extends the unbeaten run in the league for Ollie Horgan’s side to three games.
Drogheda United: David Odumosu; James Brown, Hugh Douglas, Daniel O’Reilly, Dane Massey, Conor Kane; Gary Deegan, Jake Hyland (Darragh Markey 62), Ronan Murray (Luke Heeney 74); Dinny Corcoran, Mark Doyle.
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Kosovar Sadiki, Shane McEleney, Dave Webster; Mark Coyle, Will Seymore; Karl O’Sullivan (Sean Boyd 81), Mark Russell, Barry McNamee (Tony McNamee 89); Adam Foley (Ryan Shanley 81).
Referee: Adriano Reale (Kildare).
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email email@example.com To contact Donegal Post, email firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Inish Times, email email@example.com.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.