The introduction of Declan O'Brien helped Drogheda to victory condeming Shelbourne to a winless run that now extends to seven games
Despite taking the lead just before half-time through Graham Gartland's header, Shelbourne were undone in the second half when Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien was summoned from the Drogheda bench. The substitute proved a nuisance for the Shels defence, scoring twice either side of a Gary O'Neill header to give the visitors all three points.
The match began at a relatively slow pace, with the ball becoming congested in the middle of the park for much of the opening 10 minutes, but the tackles were flying in hard. Derek Prendergast and Graham Gartland both received early bookings for hard tackles. There were other contenders for bookings as late tackles were a recurring theme in the opening stages.
This led to the early introduction of Shelbourne's Adam Hanlon for Robert Cornwall after he was on the receiving end of a Prendergast challenge. Shelbourne were creating the better openings, with Drogheda trying to create attacks through the air but Brian Shortall and the rest of the defence were winning every aerial duel they engaged in. Dean Kelly was the game's brightest spark early on, retaining the ball well for Shels and causing the Drogheda defence problems with his tricky footwork.
Shels were dominating the game and as the half wore on began to threaten Gabriel Sava's goal more often. A Sean Brennan free-kick was tipped over by the Italian and Philip Hughes was played through on goal late in the first half, racing against Sava but despite beating the goalkeeper, his low placed finish was blocked by Prendergast. Drogheda had a glorious chance of their own when Gartland cleared a cross as far as Brian Gannon who volleyed the ball hard against the post. It appeared as though the half was set to end goalless but on the stroke of half-time, Sean Brennan picked out Gartland to head Shelbourne in front from the corner.
Drogheda came out in the second half with a fresh determination and pinned Shelbourne back in their own half. The introduction of Declan O'Brien in the 70th minute gave Drogheda a greater chance of making the breakthrough and equalising. Just three minutes after coming on, O'Brien had found the back of the net. Ryan Brennan picking the striker out with a pinpoint cross and the Shels defence weren't looking as dominant in the air. Drogs had the momentum and Mick Cooke's team took full advantage of it when they took the lead just 10 minutes later, Gary O'Neill heading in from a David Cassidy free kick on the right.
At this point Shelbourne had collapsed and shortly after the visitors added a third to put the game beyond doubt. Jack Memory fouled substitute Michael Daly in the box in the 89th minute to allow O'Brien to grab his second from the penalty spot.
The defeat leaves Shelbourne winless after seven games and piles the pressure on manager Alan Matthews ahead of their trip to Richmond Park while Drogheda are hoping this victory can kickstart their season before they welcome Sligo Rovers in the first leg of their Setanta Cup semi-final first leg.