UCD AFC 1-0 Drogheda United, by Jamie Moore
UCD bounced back from last week 5-0 defeat at St. Pats with this win thanks to Dave McMillan’s late penalty at The UCD Bowl.
Sligo’s win over St. Pats earlier in the day meant Drogheda’s slim hopes of a league title were over and Mick Cooke’s side had the first chance of the game in the 11th minute, Brian Gannon headed wide at the back post from point blank range. He should have given his team the lead.
On a freezing night in Belfield both teams were trying to play football, Samir Belhout’s shot from 30 yards was easily saved by Schlingermann then a child no older than three invaded the pitch before being caught by his dad.
Peter Hynes then shot wide under pressure from UCD Captain Mick Leahy after Dave O’Connor had slipped while Robbie Benson’s pass almost set McMillan free in the 33rd minute.
Paul O’Conor then took Drogheda’s midfield to skill schools by soloing the ball over their heads through two successive challenges before seeing his volley saved.
Benson then had a shot saved and headed over from the resulting corner.
Just before half time Drogheda almost took the lead but for Mick Leahy’s last gasp tackle just as Peter Hynes was about to pull the trigger. Half time 0-0, a good game with few chances.
UCD started the second half on top, Chris Mulhall had his shot well saved by Schlingermann just after the restart then Gary Burke hit the post from outside the box as the boys in the blue turned the screw.
Drogheda’s Tiernan Mulvenna then entered the fray, becoming the first player on the night to wear woollen gloves. It’s not often Drogheda are without any of their three Brennan brothers on the pitch but Mick Cooke sent on Sean Brennan to fit that, he replaced John Sullivan.
Then UCD were reduced to 10 men in the 73rd minute, UCD’s David O’Connor was sent off by the Maltese referee for a foul on Declan O’Brien, it was an accidental challenge but the ref deemed it to be a foul and DOC was off. UCD’s first red card of the season.
Mark Langtry then replaced Gary Burke and UCD went 3-4-2 with another sub Dean Clarke and McMillan up front.
The heroic Leahy then cleared Paul Crowley’s goal bound header off the line as Drogheda pushed for a winner.
But it was UCD who got the winner after Dave McMillan was fouled in the box, he dusted himself down to blast his peno into the net and give his side the lead, his 7th goal of the season.
Drogheda were then furious when they had a goal disallowed in the 85th minute, UCD ‘keeper Ger Barron dropped a cross and the ball was bundled into the net but ref Trustin Farrugia Cann gave a foul.
Barron then made fur excellent catches from crosses in added time to help his side claim the three points.
UCD travel to across Dublin to play Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night at 8pm before hosting Shelbourne at home in the final game of the season.
UCD: Ger Barron; Hugh Douglas, David O’Connor, Michael Leahy, Ciaran Nangle; Chris Mulhall, Robbie Benson, Gary Burke (Mark Langtry, 79), Paul O’Conor, Samir Belhout (Dean Clarke, 68); David McMillan
Drogheda United: Michael Schlingermann; Brian Gannon, Derek Prendergast, Alan McNally, Philip Hand; John Sullivan (Sean Brennan, 71), Jason Marks, Alan Byrne, Paul Crowley; Declan O’Brien, Peter Hynes (Tiernan Mulvenna, 58)