A seventh goal in eight games from in-form striker Mikey Drennan gave Shamrock Rovers a laboured win over Drogheda United at Tallaght Stadium.
Pat Fenlon’s unbeaten Rovers go seconduntil Monday at least, while it’s now just two points from the last 27 on offer for struggling Drogheda.
Keith Fahey’s weak shot from a Drennan cross was comfortable for Drogheda keeper Micheal Schlingermann as Rovers began purposefully.
Despite five changes in their line-up from last week’s 3-0 home defeat to Longford Town, Drogheda had come to play, however, and they carved a decent opening on eight minutes, Carl Walshe shooting into the side-netting after good approach play from Hughes and Brennan.
A fine diagonal ball from Simon Madden stretched Drogheda minutes later with Alan Byrne getting back well to deflect Drennan’s shot out for a corner.
From that delivery by Fahey, David O’Connor might have done better than head wide unchallenged.
A bad miss that might have been, but dreadful defending gifted Rovers what would prove their winner on 19 minutes.
Brandon Miele’s cross in from the right was attacked by no defender, to apparently confused Schlingerman, who failed to gather, leaving Drennan with a simple tap-in.
Doubtless with a few choice words from Fenlon ringing in their ears from the interval, there, initially at least, looked to be more impetus about Rovers on the resumption.
Despite their endeavours, though, the chances were slow to materialise. Miele had a shot blocked away by Joe Gorman while Drennan blazed over the top.
In truth, it developed into pretty dreadful fare throughout the second half.
Save for Schlingermann getting away with a handball outside his area, the biggest noise from the home fans didn’t come until the 90th minute when Miele’s shot with the outside of his right foot cannoned back off the crossbar.
Hyland; Madden, Kenna, Blanchard, D. O’Connor; Cregg (McPhail, 69); R. Brennan, Fahey; Miele, Drennan, G. Brennan (McCabe, 60).
Schlingermann; Daly (McGowan, 49), Byrne, Gorman, Marks; Duffy, Hughes (O‘Reilly, 82), Maher, Walshe; Brennan (Brady, 72), Mulvenna.
Sean Grant (Wexford).