Teenager Ronan Boyce scores Derry City equaliser on second start

Newly promoted Drogheda United go third after sharing the spoils
Teenager Ronan Boyce scores Derry City equaliser on second start

Derry City's Ronan Boyce rises highest to score at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

DERRY CITY 1 DROGHEDA UNITED 1 

After five fixtures, Derry City failed yet again to record their first victory of the season, the Brandywell side having to share the spoils with newly promoted Drogheda United.

And while the draw was considered a fair result in the end, it's clear that Declan Devine's side is struggling defensively and, indeed, in the final third of the park.

In what proved an entertaining affair, neither side did enough to win this with clear-cut scoring chances at a premium.

Despite having enjoyed an energetic start to the game, Derry's well-documented defensive frailties returned to haunt them and, not for the first time this season, they were severely punished.

In the 24th minute, Drogheda defender Dane Massey delivered the ball into the danger area and as the home side failed to deal with the situation, the ball broke loose and the alert James Brown drilled it into the net.

That strike came against the run of play but, to be fair, the Candystripes refused to lose the momentum and while they remained on the front foot, their failure to seriously test Drogheda keeper Colin McCabe will have caused concern on the home bench.

However, Derry were deservedly rewarded for their enthusiasm five minutes before the break following a short corner. Will Patching fed the ball to James Akintunde and when he returned the pass, Patching's inviting cross into the six-yard box saw Ronan Boyce rise majestically to plant a downward header into the net; the teenager's first goal for Derry on his second start.

Drogheda upped the pace following the change of ends and within five minutes a Ronan Murray low shot forced Derry keeper Nathan Gartside into a low save.

Gartside was called into action again to parry a powerful shot by Brown from 12 yards and Derry breathed a sigh of relief.

At the other end, in the 73rd-minute Patching forced McCabe into a decent save at the expense of a corner.

With five minutes remaining, Brown could have made a name for himself when cruising into the box but he sliced his shot into the side netting when he should have done better.

Derry City: Gartside; Boyce, Toal, McJannet, Coll; Barr (Thomson, 66), Malone; Fitzgerald, Patching, Lafferty; Akintunde (Parkhouse, 66).

Drogheda United: McCabe; Brown, O'Reilly, Douglas (Tuite, h/t), Massey; Deegan, Hyland; Murray (Bermingham, 66), Markey (Heeney, 79), Doyle; Lyons (Adeyemo, 75).

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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