Drogheda United boss Tim Clancy was “over the moon” after his side’s 5-1 thumping of UCD at United Park on Friday evening, a result that lifted the Drogs up to second in the table in the albeit embryonic stages of the First Division campaign.
A four goal first half blitz put paid to any fears United could suffer a second straight home defeat at the start of the new season. Mark Doyle, Jordan Adeyemo, Chris Lyons and Jack Tuite all notched before the break. Jack Kerrigan pulled one back before a Sean Brennan penalty sealed the victory.
Following on from the home loss to Longford Town seven days earlier, this win was the perfect tonic – not that manager Clancy felt his team particularly needed one. He told LouthNow.ie that Drogheda were unfortunate not to score and come away with a result in the 0-1 reverse last week.
“We spoke about having a positive response to last week. There were a hell of a lot of positives to take from last week’s game,” he said. “We just didn’t take our chances.
“On another day, we might have got one or two goals and taken something out of the game. We weren’t too disheartened with the performance. Obviously, the result wasn’t what we wanted but to bounce back tonight was really important. We started the game a hell of a lot better than we did last week. We’re over the moon.”
His team went some way towards making up for that failure to hit the back of the net against Longford a week ago when the Students visited Boyneside on Friday evening. They hot two goals in 90 seconds inside the first nine minutes and added a third eight minutes after that in what could fairly be described as a lightning start.
“You’re not going to win every game. You’re going to lose games over the course of the season. It was the manner of it, we were pleased with it. We were very positive all week. We took a few chances that we didn’t take in the last game. That was the difference.”
Clancy wasn’t getting carried away, however. “It’s an alright start to the start season.”
19-year-old forward Jordan Adeyemo was the Drogs standout man on the night. He scored one, set another up and then won the penalty from UCD stopper Lorcan Healey for the final goal of the game. The goal was just his second league strike for United.
Having come in for Adam Wixted, the teenager’s inclusion surely prompted questions in his manager’s mind over whether he could be paired up front with established frontman Chris Lyons – rather than start on the wing as he did on Friday.
“Jordan would be a centre forward,” Clancy explained. “He’s an out and out goalscorer. He wants to get into the middle of the pitch and score goals. We felt he could give us that little bit from that position (wide right) there today.
“He’s done very well. We’re really pleased with him. That’s why you have a squad – players will play one week and not the next. It’s not necessarily anything got to do with performance, it’s whatever players suit the system and the players we’re playing against. That’s why it’s important to have a good squad, a deep squad.”
Drogheda have one of those at their disposal. Despite missing Brandon Bermingham through suspension and Mark Hughes with a foot issue, their bench against UCD included the veteran Brennan, new goalkeeper Ross Treacy, experienced ex-UCD defender Hugh Douglas, Adam Wixted and Stephen Meaney – scorer of 11 goals last season.
In three games to date in 2020, Clancy has used 16 players with a further three unused on the bench.
Drogheda travel to Shamrock Rovers next Saturday, with a scheduled cup game against UCD at United Park pushed back to Monday March 23 meaning a seven day gap between games for United. That is something Clancy appreciates now but knows it will lead to a two-game week further down the line.
“The turnaround is very quick between tonight and Monday. We’re a part time team. It helps us to have a few extra days before the game,” he said.
Right back James Brown came off the field at half time but Clancy confirmed that was only as a precaution after feeling a twinge in his hamstring. He will be available for the trip to Tallaght next weekend as will the returning Bermingham and it seems, Mark Hughes, who has yet to play this term.
“Mark’s not far away. He has an awkward knock on one of the joints on his foot. There’s no fracture, it’s just very sore. We had an issue with Mark last year with his hamstring for maybe, 10 or 12 weeks. We don’t want to kick the can down the road. We did it for long enough last year. He missed three months. We want to nip it in the bud. He should be close,” the Drogs boss said.
“We’d rather take the hit at this stage of the season,” he added, confirming the midfielder is due to take part in full training on Monday.
“James is grand. He said he felt his hamstring was tight. He was raging to come off at half time.”