Drogheda 0-3 Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 8th Jul 2017 15:05
Brett Pitman has scored once and Freddie Sears twice to give the Blues a 3-0 half-time lead in their first pre-season friendly at Drogheda.
Town started with a team which was a mix of youngsters and senior pros for the first half with Dean Gerken in goal, Josh Emmanuel at right-back, Myles Kenlock at left-back and Steven Taylor and Pat Webber at the centre of the defence.
In midfield, Cole Skuse was joined in the centre by Adam McDonnell with Grant Ward on the right and Conor McKendry on the left, while Sears and Pitman were up front.
Town are set to field an entirely different XI in the second half but with Luke Chambers and new signings Tom Adeyemi and Bersant Celina not involved despite being at United Park, while Kevin Bru is an absentee along with Luke Hyam, who has been training but may not yet be ready for a game.
David McGoldrick, Tommy Smith and Monty Patterson have been given additional time off having been on international duty so aren’t involved, while Kevin Bru hasn’t travelled to Ireland with a move back to France seeming likely.
The home side started with half the team which lost 2-0 at home to Finn Harps last night to drop to the bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division as well as a number of trialists.
Town threatened first in the fourth minute when Webber sent a ball forward for Sears, who teed up McKendry and the Northern Irish youngster hit a shot not too far wide.
Sean Russell hit weakly into the arms of Gerken moments later, then play moved quickly to the other end and Drogs keeper Ryan Coulter thwarted Sears and Pitman looped the loose ball over the defenders on the line and the bar.
On 11 McKendry flicked an Emmanuel cross from the right not too far wide, then three minutes later the Blues took the lead.
Ward worked his way past a couple of defenders towards the edge of the box before laying the ball to his left to Pitman, who took a touch before curling a superb strike into the top left-hand corner of Coulter’s net.
Pitman might have made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute after running on to Sears’s clever flick but screwed the ball so wide it went out for a throw.
Drogheda chances had been few and far between but on 25 McDonnell gave the ball away midway inside the Town half and Dean Ebbe hit a shot which Taylor blocked.
Almost immediately the Blues were close to making it 2-0, Coulter pawing away McDonnell’s well-struck shot from the edge of the box.
Sears should have doubled Town’s lead on 29 when Pitman flicked on Kenlock’s ball forward putting the former Colchester man in one-on-one with Coulter, however, the keeper blocked.
But the striker made amends in the 37th minute, again when fed through by Pitman, on this occasion slipping the ball to Coulter’s right and into the net off the inside of the post.
Three minutes later, it was 3-0. Kenlock crossed from the left, Pitman and Sears exchanged passes to work the one-time West Ham frontman space and he beat Coulter to his left from the edge of the six-yard box.
Sears might have completed a first-half hat-trick in the 42nd minute when played through by McKendry but Coulter again stood his ground and saved.
A minute later, Blues keeper Gerken was forced into his first serious save of the game, diving to his right to stop Adam Wixted's strike.
That was the final action of a half dominated by Town, who might well have been more than three goals in front had more of their chances been taken.
Pitman and Sears combined well throughout, even if they will feel they ought to have taken more chances, while youngsters McKendry and Webber will be pleased with their first performances for the senior side.
Drogheda: Coulter, Elworthy, Gallagher, McGuigan, Dunne, Wixted, Hollywood, Russell, Ameri, Donaghy, Ebbe. Purdy, Brennan, Kane, Masterson, Byrne, McEvoy, Buckley, Tracey.
First-half Team: Gerken, Emmanuel, Taylor, Webber, Kenlock, Ward, Skuse, McDonnell, McKendry, Sears, Pitman.
Second-half team: Bialkowski, Spence, Fowler, Knudsen, Nydam, Rowe, Garner, Moore, Bishop, Downes, Morris.
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