Drogheda and Bohemians fought out a 2-2 draw at Hunky Dorys Park as Graham Rusk missed several chances for the home side to claim their fourth win in the leagueDrogheda United and Bohemians played out an entertaining 2-2 tie at Hunky Dorys Park, with Bohs twice coming from behind to claim a point in the Airtricity Premier Division.
The Drogs got the dream start they were looking for, when, with just 55 seconds on the clock, an early corner kick saw Gavin Brennan play it short to David Cassidy. His wonderfully weighted ball from the right found the head of an unmarked Michael Daly, and with the freedom of Hunky Dorys Park, the former Manchester City youth player buried the header past a static Gypsies' defence.
The home side could have doubled their lead minutes later when Brennan narrowly missed from a diving header, following an inch-perfect Graham Rusk cross from the right. Bohemians were struggling to get a foothold in the game but they nearly got back into it on the quarter hour when an unmarked Roberto Lopes headed over from Keith Buckley's corner.
Brennan's tireless prompting from the right again almost unlocked the Bohs defence on 25 minutes when his diagonal ball found Rusk out wide, but the Drogs striker pulled his shot narrowly wide. The home side were forcing most of the early tempo and Rusk again narrowly missed with a header from a Shane Grimes free-kick. The Gypsies were relying on counter attacks to pose any kind of threat but Drogs striker Rusk could well have claimed the match ball before half-time; a clever through ball from Gary O'Neill on the half hour gave him his third decent chance, with only the keeper to beat, but ex-Shelbourne keeper Dean Delany read the danger just in time.
Completely against the run of play, Bohemians got back into the game in the 33rd minute and it wasn't without some controversy. A lovely through ball from Keith Buckley appeared to be brought under control by Dwayne Wilson with the help of his arm. However, if there was a question mark over the legality of the goal, there was no quibble over the quality of his finish, as his turn and spin outfoxed Alan McNally and his strike from just inside the penalty area easily beat Gabriel Sava.
If Drogheda were feeling sorry for themselves, it didn't show, as they regained the lead five minutes later. A scramble in the Bohs’ area saw Paul O'Conor's initial header blocked on the line by a Bohs defender, only for him to collect the rebound and smash the ball past Delany. The home side continued to press and could've doubled their lead two minutes later when veteran striker Gary O'Neill's delightful chip beat Delany again, only for the crossbar to come to the Dubliners' rescue.
Bohs came out in the second half a different side, with Keith Buckley growing more influential in midfield. Andy Mulligan got the Gypsies level again when his tireless chasing of a through ball into the right corner paid off and his subsequent cross found Ryan McEvoy in space, who slid it past Sava with aplomb with 55 minutes gone.
Graham Rusk was again denied by Delany as the home side tried to regain the initiative, but they really should have just after the hour, when O'Neill somehow contrived to miss from two yards out as a low cross from Brennan struck the side of his boot and spooned over the bar.
Mulligan had a glorious chance to snatch the points late on for the visitors when he found himself clear in the area with only the keeper to beat, however his hesitation enabled Sava to block his initial effort and his second attempt screwed wide of the upright. Eric Foley, brought on for O'Conor in the 65th minute, put a free-kick mere inches over the Bohs' crossbar with 10 minutes to go.
The home side came the closest to grabbing a winner in injury time when Foley's free kick caused momentary panic for the visitors but Delany collected under pressure and Drogheda now have the unenviable tag of the Airtricity League’s draw specialists.