DROGHEDA United’s extraordinary knack of scoring crucial late goals continued at Dalymount Park on Friday night as substitute Dean Williams’ equalizer sent the Boynesiders into the mid-season break on a high note.

n an exact repeat of what happened in the reverse fixture back in April, Williams came off the bench around the hour mark and stunned the Bohs fans by rescuing an unlikely point for Kevin Doherty’s side with an opportunistic strike in the closing stages.

Exactly one-third of Drogheda’s 21 league goals this season have been scored after the 83rd minute – a truly remarkable statistic for a part-time club – and it indicates the superb fitness of the entire squad, their mental resilience and also the fierce desire among the players to do well for the club.

Great credit is due to the management team in that regard for creating that will to win in the camp, and the belief to go chasing vital goals in those last few minutes – often when the game looks like a lost cause.

The opposite seems to be the case with Bohemians as all too often they’ve thrown away winning positions this season, and yet for all that they’ve shown what they’re capable of by beating St Pat’s and drawing with both Dundalk and Derry City .

For long periods of this game the Gypsies were the dominant force, but some poor decision-making in the final third of the pitch – not to mention some outstanding goalkeeping from Sam Long – meant Drogheda stayed in the game and Williams then took advantage of hesitant defending to plunder the equalizer.

Drogheda struggled to get out of their half in the opening quarter as shots rained in on Long from Liam Burt (twice), Tyreke Wilson and Dawson Devoy. Burt’s second effort had the keeper worried as it grabbed the outside of the post, while Devoy’s effort was a clever volley that landed on the roof of the net after a free kick had been flicked up to him.

After a scrappy 10-minute spell in the middle of the half Bohs came again and former Drog Ciaran Kelly fired wide from distance, Jordan Flores scooped a decent chance into the hands of Long and a classy touch from Keith Cowan took the ball away from Junior Ogede-Uzokwe as he lined up a shot.

With the interval moments away, though, Bohs finally broke the deadlock as Junior took a pass from the lively Coote and teed up ex Dundalk man Flores who produced an excellent composed finish from just outside the box.

Georgie Poynton’s introduction at the break for Cowan resulted in a reshuffled back four, and Evan Weir – now at centre-half – hit a couple of superb diagonal passes towards Dayle Rooney whose crosses caused panic in the home defence.

One was eventually scrambled away by Kelly and the second led to a shot by Darragh Nugent which was parried by James Talbot in the Bohemians goal.

Poynton made a crucial clearance in the box to prevent a certain goal after Roughan had lost out to Promise Omochere in an arm-wrestle on the Jodi Stand touchline and unsuccessfully appealed for a free kick.

Then Coote teed up Devoy for a shot that flew over the bar, before the action swung to the other end and Drogs sub Adam Foley laid the ball to Roughan whose swerving 30-yarder had to be tipped over the bar by Talbot.

Bohemians were over-complicating things at times as they seemed to want to walk the ball in the net at times, resulting in a couple of botched opportunities, but still they looked dangerous and Burt and Coote combined to tee up Devoy for another shot that had to be finger-tipped around the post by Long.

The keeper produced a further fine stop to push Max Murphy’s long-range effort away for another corner kick, but Long saved his best moment for the 81st minute. Burt exchanged passes with Flores and bore down on goal, but from just inside the box his fierce shot was tipped onto the bar by the Lincoln City loanee.

Somehow Drogheda kept the score at 1-0 and then, in the 84th minute, they punished their hosts with an equalizer that was as unexpected as it was welcome.

Foley, fellow sub Ryan Brennan and Luke Heeney tried to work an opening in the right corner, and a half-clearance by Kelly was immediately headed back into the Bohs half by Weir towards Darragh Markey.

Having come on in the 74th minute for his first appearance since breaking a metatarsal at The Brandywell back in mid March, Markey flicked the ball over his head and into the box where Williams got between centre-halves Kelly and Jordan Doherty and flicked the ball over the stranded Talbot for 1-1.

Bohs had nothing more to offer after that save for a wayward Flores shot and there were boos from their fans at the final whistle, but delight among the away supporters as Drogheda followed up back-to-back wins over Finn Harps and Shamrock Rovers with another positive result.

BOHEMIANS: James Talbot 7; Max Murphy 7, Jordan Doherty 7, Ciaran Kelly 7, Tyreke Wilson 6 (Rory Feely 25min, 7; James Finnerty 59min, 6); Conor Levingston 7, Jordan Flores 7; Ali Coote 8 (Stephen Mallon 89min), Dawson Devoy 7, Liam Burt 8; Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 7 (Promise Omochere 59min, 7). Subs not used: Ryan Cassidy, Jamie Mullins, Cian Byrne, James McManus, Tadhg Ryan.

DROGHEDA UNITED: Sam Long 8; Luke Heeney 6, Keith Cowan 7 (Georgie Poynton 46min, 6), Evan Weir 7; Gary Deegan 7, James Clarke 7 (Darragh Markey 74min, 7); Dylan Grimes 6 (Ryan Brennan 67min, 7), Darragh Nugent 7 (Adam Foley 67min, 7), Dayle Rooney 7; Chris Lyons 6 (Dean Williams 57mins, 7). Subs not used: Andrew Quinn, Mohammed Boudiaf, Charles Mutawe, Colin McCabe.

EXPECTATION: 2,500 (east)

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