Dundalk 6 Drogheda Utd 0: Dundalk took another huge step towards retaining the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title with a crushing victory of neighbours Drogheda Utd in last night’s Louth derby at Oriel Park.
Stephen Kenny’s side were already two goals to the good courtesy of strikes from Daryl Horgan and Richie Towell by the time Jason Marks was needlessly sent off for the visitors 10 minutes into the second half. After that the Lilywhites ran riot with Towel completing his hat-trick and David McMillan also getting on the scoresheet as the home side comfortably extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.
While nearest challengers Cork City have a gave in hand on their opponents after last night and a game against them to come next month in Turner’s Cross, the capacity for error is minimal as the champions look ahead to their closing five matches of the campaign.
While things were looking rosy in north Louth last night, the same could not be said for their neighbours further south. This result leaves Mark Kinsella’s men deep in relegation trouble and will have done nothing for their confidence ahead of crucial back to back home matches against Bohemians and Cork City in the next couple of weeks.
The Boynesiders actually created the first real chance of the game in the 26th minute when Joe Gorman’s cross picked out Marks unmarked at the back post but the winger was unable to direct his header goalwards.
That miss was to prove costly as Dundalk opened their account two minutes later. Towell held the ball up well inside the box before cutting a pass back towards the penalty spot where the inrushing Horgan was on hand to sweep home to the bottom right hand corner.
Horgan then returned the favour for Towell four minutes after the restart when he teed him up for a shot from 25 yards that flew to the bottom left hand corner.
After that things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Marks was shown a straight red card by referee Rob Rogers on 55 minutes for a high tackle on Sean Gannon on the half-way line.
With the numerical advantage, Dundalk began to apply the pressure and when McMillan was upended in the box by Schlingermann just before the hour mark, Towell was on hand to dispatch the penalty to make it 3-0.
A fourth was added in the 73rd minute when Darren Meenan’s free kick was headed down by Brian Gartland before being latched to the top right hand corner by McMillan.
Towell then completed his hat-trick five minutes later by sweeping home Gannon’s cut back and he added a fourth in the 91st minute with a low finish from John Mountney’s cross.
Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Meenan, Shields, Towell, Horgan; Finn (Maguire 81); McMillan (Kilduff 77).
Schlingermann; Maher, Byrne, O’Reilly, Gorman; Daly, Thornton (Hughes 69); Whelan, Treacy (Duffy 57), Marks; Brennan (Bayly 62).
R Rogers (Dublin).
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