UCD beat Dundalk 2-1 at Oriel Park on Friday night
UCD AFC took a huge step towards Premier Division survival on Friday night with a crucial win over Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Two goals from in form David McMillan secured the win after Michael Rafter had equalised for the home side.
In a tense opening 15 minutes both sides went close, Danny Ledwith shot over for UCD while Rafter almost scored for Dundalk minutes later.
In the 18th minute Robbie Benson had a great shout for a penalty waved away by ref Damien Hancock after it looked like he had been fouled in the box.
While in the 25th minute goalkeeper Mark McGinley made an excellent one on one save to deny Rafter and keep his side on level terms.
Two minutes later Danny Ledwith’s 35 yard free kick rattled the crossbar, his Ronaldo style effort deserved better.
But UCD manager Martin Russell need not have worried as UCD took the lead in the 33rd minute, McMillan finished well inside the box after Danny Ledwith’s cross.
At half time The Boys In Blue let 1-0, James Kavanagh, Mick Leahy, Robbie Benson, Ledwith and McMillan all impressed in the opening period.
Dundalk started the second half the better and had UCD on the back foot and they soon equalised, a shot deflected in off Michael Rafter past the helpless McGinley to make it 1-1.
UCD looked nervous for a period and Mark Griffin shot just wide in a good spell for the home side.
Russell then made an inspired substitution, Gary Burke on for Dean Clarke and UCD went to a three man midfield, Burke was excellent and got UCD back passing the ball again and he was instrumental in setting up the winner.
Paul O’Conor’s pin point pass found Burke whose chest control set up a pass for Ledwith who raced into the box before being fouled and up stepped McMillan after a bit of a delay to smash the ball home and make it 2-1.
But Dundalk were not finished, Griffin’s free kick was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by McGinley.
UCD managed to hold on and secure the three points which means they now sit 9th in the Premier Division table, seven points ahead of bottom side Dundalk and now ahead of Bray Wanderers on goal difference.
It also makes it four wins from the last five league games for Martin Russell’s side with Dave McMillan contributing four of those goals since his return to the club.
“I’m delighted with the result, I thought we were excellent in the first half and in the second half we showed a lot of fight to come away with the three points.”
“Four wins from five means we are hitting form at the right time in the season.”
“David McMillan was excellent in the game tonight, his goals have helped us and it’s good to have him back.”
UCD have no game next weekend as they were due to host Monaghan United, so the next game is away to Derry City on Friday week, Sep 21st in The Bradywell with a 7.45pm kick off.
DUNDALK: Peter Cherrie; John Mountney, Derek Foran, Paul Whelan, Eoghan Osborne; Stephen Maher, Mark O'Brien (Chris Reilly 66), Chris Shields, Lorcan Shannon; Marc Griffin, Michael Rafter (Barry Conlon 75).
UCD: Mark McGinley, Hugh Douglas, James Kavanagh, Michael Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Paul O'Conor, Barry McCabe, Daniel Ledwith; Dean Clarke (Gary Burke 68), Robbie Benson, David McMillan (Chris Lyons 89)
UCDSOCCER.COM Man Of The Match – Dave McMillan