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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Paul Lennon

Drogheda United 1 v Derry City 1: Draw frustrates Candystripes

Sam Long is unsure if his loan deal from Lincoln City will extend beyond the summer transfer window when his current stint at Drogheda expires.

Boynesiders' boss Kevin Doherty and the club's supporters will fervently hope that The Imp can become a permanent Drog - along with club mate Sean Roughan.

Centre half Roughan was again impressive as Drogheda's resilience produced a 41st minute equaliser from Ryan Brennan following Joe Thomson's 31st minute opener for City.

Read more: Memorial event to be held for Derry GAA star who died suddenly

But it was Long who shone as the rock upon which Derry's search for victory ultimately perished with the keeper producing a string of timely saves.

United have now gone six games unbeaten and their 13 points' haul from 11 games will more than please Doherty.

For Ruadhri Higgins, the loss of five points over Easter has allowed Shamrock Rovers to move within a point of The Candystripes who still lead the Premier Division.

United's Ryan Brennan got the equaliser (©INPHO/Tom Maher)

There was much to admire in City's passing but the lack of a final edge may give Higgins some food for thought.

Building on their unbeaten five game run, United settled quickly with Heeney testing Nathan Gartside with a low sixth minute shot.

City looked slightly hesitant but gradually played their way into proceedings with their patient passing game.

With Lafferty pushing up intelligently from his left wing back position, City started to give Drogheda problems and the former Burnley defender's 16th minute header from Ronan Boyce's deep cross flew only a foot wide of the post.

Drogheda's response was swift with Evan Weir picking out Brennan whose header went wide.

City were now on top with Thomson, Cameron Dummigan and Will Patching linking effectively in the middle of the park and their hosts dropping deeper.

United's concession of territory afforded Thomson acres of room 35 yards from goal in the 31st minute and after advancing five yards, he unleashed a vicious low right foot drive that flew past Sam Long.

If the Drogheda keeper might be slightly faulted for not getting more of his left hand on the shot, the pace of the effort was still breathtaking.

Six minutes later Derry should have doubled their lead as they pressed strongly in search of a second goal.

Once more, Lafferty created the opening with a fine low cross from the left hand side of the box but the completely unmarked James Akintunde failed to beat Long with two efforts, the keeper somehow scooping the ball off the line.

The significance of the save was amplified in the 41st minute when Drogheda struck for their equaliser.

City failed to clear a Drogheda corner and when Heeney's cross was volleyed with pace into the box by Weir, Brennan ghosted in to head past Gartside from seven yards out.

The Candystripes laid siege to the United goal in the second half with the closest effort being Boyce's glancing header striking the bar.

Read more: Derry City 2 Drogheda Utd 0: Jamie McGonigle grabs the goals but injury woes continue

Read more: Derry City 2 St Pat's Athletic 1: A late, late winner for Derry City

For more Derry news, visit our new site MyDerry.

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