Home > Random Rovers thoughts > Twigg’s crisp finish bags late winner at Hunky Dorys Park

Twigg’s crisp finish bags late winner at Hunky Dorys Park

Shamrock Rovers had Gary Twigg to thank for their 1-0 away win against Drogheda United tonight (Friday 15 July 2011). The Scotsman scored the only goal of the game, and his eleventh league goal of the season, in the 94th minute at Hunky Dorys Park.


It was perhaps a distracted performance by the Hoops as the played this Airtricity League game sandwiched between the first and second legs of their Champions League tie against Flora Tallinn. The Rovers line up was certainly shaped by the upcoming European fixture with Manager Michael O’Neill making seven changes to the starting eleven from the one that played the Estonian champions just three days ago. O’Neill, who was serving a one match touch line ban, handed a league starting debut to Jamaican goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.

It was Drogheda’s goalkeeper Steven Trimble who was tested first as he punched away a Dean Kelly shot from just outside the area in the first minute. Drogheda created the next scoring chance as Thompson dropped the ball under a challenge but Craig Sives, diving full length on the line, cleared with a header. United had a big appeal for a penalty after Pat Flynn had a hand on the back of Gavin Brennan but referee Neil Doyle waved play on. After twenty minutes Mark O’Brien latched onto a ball over the top and forced a good save from Rovers keeper Thompson.

Rovers lined out with a 4-3-3 system with Gary O’Neill playing in the centre up front. O’Neill went close after 22 minutes when he ran onto a Stephen O’Donnell through ball. Goalkeeper Trimble raced out of his area to head the ball just ahead of O’Neill. Both side were creating chances and Drogheda’s Dinny Corcoran forced a save from Thompson down low to his right on 24 minutes. Coming up towards half time, Rovers captain Dan Murray linked up with Dean Kelly who cut in by two Drogheda players to feed O’Donnell who won a corner. The short corner routine didn’t work and after two injury minutes the teams departed for the half time break all square.

The Rovers management team were quick to make the changes in the second half as the Hoops went in search of a goal. Stephen O’Donnell made way for Ronan Finn at the start of the second half. Seven minutes later there was a double substitution with Gary Twigg and Billy Dennehy coming on for O’Neill and McCormack. This saw Rovers switch to a 4-4-2 formation with Twigg going up top alongside Dean Kelly.

After 66 minutes a Stephen Rice long throw was flicked on by Craig Sives into the path of winger Gary McCabe. However, McCabe couldn’t find the back of the net as Trimble made another save. Rovers continued to pile the pressure on the Drogheda goal as two minutes later Twigg played Dennehy in on goal only for the Drogheda defender to clear. Brian Gannon pulled McCabe back on 73 minutes giving Rovers a free kick in a dangerous position. Billy Dennehy played the free in but too high for Dan Murray at the back post.

Rovers were forcing a series of corners with Billy Dennehy winning one on 75 minutes. McCabe swung it in to the box hitting the first defender. Craig Sives managed to pick up the rebound and played the ball across the box for Twigg and his shot was saved. The clearance from the defender nearly went into his own net but just whistled by the post. Dan Murray’s header from the subsequent corner fell to Billy Dennehy just outside the six yard box and he won another corner.

The Rovers fans were beginning to think it was going to be a disappointing night as the clock ticked past 80 minutes. Dennehy picked up a one-two but could only shoot wide. News of a Sligo Rovers goal fest against bottom side Galway was filtering through to the crowd as Rovers laboured to score just one goal against second from bottom Drogheda. McCabe and Kelly combined next with Twigg putting a glancing header just past the post. With ten minutes to go, McCabe’s next bit of trickery saw him hauled back by Brennan who received a yellow card.

Drogheda were trying to exploit the space left as Rovers pushed on looking for a winner and Pat Flynn and Enda Stevens were required to put in some vital challenges at the back to keep their clean sheet. The four minutes of injury time were almost up as Billy Dennehy climbed above his marker to flick on the ball to the onrushing Gary Twigg. He calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Trimble to find the top corner of the net and celebrated down in front of the sizeable Rovers away contingent. Drogheda probably felt hard done by but they didn’t really do enough in the second half to test Thompson and his Rovers defence. All attention now switches to Europe and the second leg of the second qualifying round of the Champions League in Estonia. Following the draw in Nyon today, Rovers now know that if they can build on their 1-0 win and overcome Flora, they will face FC Copenhagen in the next round.

Hoops Line Out
16 Ryan Thompson
3 Enda Stevens
4 Craig Sives
5 Dan Murray (c) [yellow card]
13 Pat Flynn [yellow card]
6 Stephen Rice
8 Stephen O’Donnell
22 Conor McCormack
7 Gary McCabe
9 Gary O’Neill
14 Dean Kelly

Substitutes
21 Ronan Finn for O’Donnell 45’
9 Gary Twigg for O’Neill 52’
20 Billy Dennehy for McCormack 52’
1 Alan Mannus
2 Pat Sullivan
17 Ken Oman
15 Paddy Kavanagh

Drogheda United: 1 Trimble 2 Quigley 3 Hand 4 McNally 5 Gannon 6 Lynch 7 O’Brien 8 McMahon 9 Corcoran 10 Mulvenna 11 Brennan
Subs: 12 Thompson for McMahon (on 86 mins) and 17 White for Mulvenna (on 90 mins)

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