Chris Lyons’ last-gasp winner has sealed a 1-0 win for Drogheda United against Finn Harps at United Park.
Lyons found the back of the net in the third minute of stoppage time in the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off in Louth, following a delightful backheel from Stephen Meaney.
Raffaele Cretaro almost hit back immediately for Harps in the dying seconds, but his effort came back off the post, leaving Ollie Horgan’s men with a lot to do in the second leg in Ballybofey.
Both sides had chances in an even first half at United Park.
Lyons had a golden opportunity to open the scoring for the hosts, but directed his free header straight at Harps shot stopper Mark Anthony McGinley.
The 26-year-old forced McGinley into another save with a powerful drive from distance, with the ‘keeper tipping the striker’s effort over the crossbar.
At the other end, Nathan Boyle was relieved to see a belated offside flag after he somehow blazed a shot over with the goal at his mercy.
Ruairi Harkin also went close for the visitors from the Premier Division; his deflected cross coming back off the post.
The scores were level at the break, with meaningful chances at a premium in the opening 45 minutes.
Drogheda’s Sean Brennan’s quick free kick kept McGinley on his toes early in the second half, before Harps boss Horgan was dismissed from the dugout by referee Rob Hennessy for animatedly protesting a decision.
Substitute Meaney flashed a shot over for Drogheda as the game entered the closing stages.
Mikey Place headed narrowly wide late in the game for Harps, before the Donegal club were undone by Lyons’ late goal.
Lyons kept his composure to slot the ball past McGinley after engineering a yard of space in the box.