Goalless draws weigh heavy on United backroom

Paddy Kirk of Bohemians and Stephen Walsh of Galway United tussle during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division at Dalymount Park on May 6. (Photo: Ben McShane)

Paddy Kirk of Bohemians and Stephen Walsh of Galway United tussle during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division at Dalymount Park on May 6. (Photo: Ben McShane)

by Caomhán O'Connell

Unbeaten in seven games, Galway United face an important test tomorrow night away to Drogheda United.

The Louth side have sat consistently in ninth over past weeks, but have stayed in touch with the sides above them thanks to impressive results including last week’s home win against Dundalk and away draw to Shelbourne.

The significance of tomorrow’s game lies in its status as an opportunity for John Caulfield’s men to put clear daylight between themselves and the bottom of the table. They will face Drogheda once more before the mid-season interval, and these games are crucial in determining the season’s trajectory.

United continue to trend positively. They more than matched Sligo Rovers in a Connacht Derby that ebbed and flowed, but ultimately ended in a fifth 0-0 draw of 15 games this season.

After an uncharacteristically sluggish start, where Sligo spurned some chances to go ahead, United began to assert themselves physically. Patrick Hickey was crucial to the team’s attacking efforts were reliant on his aerial ability. He won plenty of duels but couldn’t capitalise on his chances in front of goal.

Attacking ferocity

Stephen Walsh led the line with his trademark ferocity. He had a couple of good chances in the second half and was unlucky to see both climb over. Wassim Aouachria pulled a good save from Ed McGinty upon his introduction. However it was United old boy Wilson Waweru who had the best chance to steal it late on: his breakaway effort trickling just wide of the post.

There were plenty of positives to encourage for the trip. Despite the absence of Vince Borden and Karl O’ Sullivan from the matchday squad, United still enjoyed an impact from the bench. Maurice Nugent once again impressed upon introduction and was close to another goal after his heroics in Dalymount Park. Leo Gaxha gained valuable minutes and provided a threat on the flank.

Yet, none of the changes, nor the two strikers introduced (Aouachria and Francley Lomboto ) in the pursuit of a win managed a goal. It was United’s sixth time in eight home games to draw a blank. It is a problem that will weigh on management as we approach the mid-season break.

However, one of the quirks of the calendar is that 21 games will be played by the break, with only 15 remaining afterwards. This underscores the importance of this phase of the upcoming six games, which are bookended by away and home games against Drogheda United.

In an unusually congested table, where 10 points separate first from eighth, the Tribesmen will hope to arrive at that break with a cushion in the middle of the table. Positive results against Drogheda would go a long way to achieving this.

 

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