UCD AFC fell to Shebourne in the UCD Bowl on Friday night.
Airtricity League Premier Division
Friday 11th May
UCD AFC 0-2 Shelbourne FC
Byrne (Red Card) 13'
By Ryan Bailey
UCD were made to pay for a reckless start as Shelbourne ran out 2-0 winners on Friday evening at the UCD Bowl. The visitors opened the scoring inside the opening minute before sealing the victory just after the hour mark as Martin Russell’s side endured a frustrating evening.
Following on from last week’s terrific second half comeback in Tallaght, Russell decided to go with three at the back and play two wing backs with Mark Langtry and Daniel Ledwith providing attacking potential. However all tactics went out the window straight from referee Alan Kelly’s first whistle as Hugh Douglas was dispossessed by former Student Paddy Kavanagh who put the ball on a plate for Philip Gorman to slot home from a couple of yards out. The goal was clocked at an incredible sixteen seconds, a blow in which the home side never seemed to recover from.
One feature of the Students’ game is the ability to keep going and fight back from the dead, which was emphasised with the 2-2 d
Shamrock Rovers last week and Paul O’Conor nearly equalised just minutes after the opening goal. He found acres of space in the visitor’s box but couldn’t beat Shels ‘keeper Dean Delany.
The game took another dramatic swing on 13 minutes as Alan Mathew’s side were reduced to ten men. Sean Byrne lost possession on the left flank and in an attempt to regain the ball he lunged in on Mark Langtry directly on front of the fourth official. Alan Kelly is one of the league’s best whistle blowers and he had no hesitation in reaching into his back pocket to send Byrne for an early shower.
Despite having a man advantage, UCD couldn’t find any fluency in attack which they have showed in recent games. Samir Belhout, on his return to the starting line-up along with Chris Lyons worked tirelessly up front but weren’t given the service to trouble the visitors’ back four. It was the ten men who nearly doubled their lead as Barry Clancy’s in swinging free kick was headed back across goal before Gorman slotted home but the assistant referee adjudged the ball to have crossed the end line.
It was a first half with little goal mouth opportunities as UCD failed to trouble Delany and the Shels back four. Set pieces seemed to be the best bet for the home side in the first period but several corners and free kicks were comfortably defended.
Arina Radionova, the Russian tennis player was at the Bowl but her half time cameo with mascot Collee couldn’t inspire the Students as the second period went along a similar pattern to the first. Inevitably with a numerical advantage, the home side dominated large spells of possession but failed to create any chances of note. Cillian Morrison was introduced for Samir Belhout at the break while James Kavanagh, brother of Paddy came on for Hugh Douglas. The substitutions didn’t make too much of an impact as UCD were largely restricted to long range efforts.
Last year’s FAI Cup finalists nearly doubled their lead ten minutes into the second half as Mark McGinley in the UCD goal, a spectator for much of the game, miscued his clearance but Paddy Kavanagh couldn’t convert with the goal at his mercy. As the half wore on, Mathews’ side began to sit deeper and deeper and the Students for the first time looked like they might breakthrough but once again Shels defended resolutely. Mark Langtry jinked his way into a shooting position from the right but his fierce goal bound effort was blocked by Andy Boyle. Moments later Dean Delany was tested but Paul Corry’s stinging shot was straight at the Shels shot stopper.
With Anto Murphy, Kavanagh and Gorman up front, the visitors always looked dangerous on the break and with the Students searching for an equaliser, Shels dealt the killer blow. Murphy went down the left before putting a low cross across the face of goal via Philly Gorman for the onrushing David Cassidy to tap home. With twenty five minutes remaining on the clock, there was still a chance for the home side to rescue something from the game but it just wasn’t their evening as more pressure yielded little reward.
Robbie Benson was brought on for the last ten minutes but couldn’t make an impact in the time remaining. Paul O’Conor nearly gave his side a lifeline with a couple of minutes left but as he seemed to be pulling the trigger from a few yards out, Andy Boyle arrived on cue with a last ditch tackle, a challenge which summed up the game.
In the end Shelbourne saw the game out to ensure a disciplined 2-0 away victory. For UCD it was a frustrating and disappointing evening but one characteristic of Martin Russell’s young side is their ability to bounce back and they will need to as they travel to Cork next Friday in a repeat of the opening game of the season.
To see more photos from the game courteys of Ken Finley, click here.
UCD AFC: Mark McGinley; Hugh Douglas (Kavanagh 45’), David O’Connor, Mick Leahy (c), Danny Ledwith; Mark Langtry, Paul Corry, Paul O’Conor, Samir Belhout (Morrison 45’); Graham Rusk (Benson 81’), Chris Lyons
Subs not used: Corbett, Nangle, Burke, McCabe
Bookings: Hugh Douglas (25’), Chris Lyons (40’)
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Gareth Matthews, Andy Boyle, Sean Byrne, Brian Shortall; David Cassidy (Dawson 73’), Glenn Cronin, Paddy Kavanagh, Anto Murphy (Sullivan 65’); Philip Gorman, Philip Hughes (Clancy 16’)
Subs not used: Skinner, C.Byrne, P.Byrne, Ryan
Bookings: Cassidy (49’), Clancy (63’)
Sending Off: Sean Byrne (13’)
Referee: Alan Kelly
ucdsoccer.com Man of the Match: Mark Langtry- saw small glimpses of the ball but when he did have it looked dangerous.