Drogheda United assistant manager Kevin Doherty struggled to hide his disappointment as his side suffered a crushing 3-0 defeat at the hands of UCD at United Park on Friday night.
The Boyensiders fell to only their second home defeat in the league this season as the Students took full advantage of Sean Brennan’s first-half dismissal with in-form Conor Davis netting a hat-trick and leaving Drogheda’s season hanging by a thread.
“It’s a huge blow to take,’ the former Shelbourne manager admitted. “I thought we were doing well first-half, everything that we had worked on in training was coming off and it was an even game.
“Obviously, it’s a completely different game after the sending off and then it becomes a double blow when UCD score only a few seconds later. We tried to have a go second-half but it was just too big of an ask and UCD were in complete control.”
The game swung the way of the visitors just before half-time as Brennan was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge seconds before UCD’s opener but Doherty was reluctant to lay the blame on the Drogs midfielder.
“I wouldn’t say he let us down but it was a rash decision to dive in having already been booked. He’s made a mistake but he’s human like the rest of us.
“Sean has been superb this season, he’s won us so many points with last-minute penalties and free-kicks that it’s hard to criticise him.
“He’ll know more than anyone else that he’s made a mistake tonight.”
Drogheda could find themselves outside the play-offs on Saturday evening depending on Longford Town’s result at home to Cabinteely and with the Midlanders the next visitors to United Park in a fortnight, Doherty is certain his side will be ready for the challenge.
“We’re struggling for bodies at the minute so it’s possibly a blessing that the game is two weeks away.
“Regardless of what happens Saturday night in Longford, our destiny remains in our hands as two wins will be enough for the play-offs.
“We’ll lick our wounds this evening but I’ve no doubt the lads will pick themselves up next week and we’ll be ready to go again.”