UCD AFC edged closer to the top of the Leinster Senior League Saturday Major 1 A table with an impressive 4-2 win over Glenville.
UCD took on Glenville in the first major test of the Leinster Senior League Saturday Major 1A season. Glenville went into the game safe in the knowledge that they had set the early season pace and had opened a comfortable gap at the top of the league after only 6 games. 3 games into the season and UCD had 3 wins having scored 4 goals in each game. The fourth game on paper provided the sternest test so far, one that the Students were determined to pass and pass it they did running out 4-2 winners in impressive style.
The opening exchanges were dominated by Glenville as a nervous UCD struggled to make any impact on the game. UCD encouraged Gelnville to get forward as a series of sloppy passes fell to the feet of the Glenville attacking players and Finnegan in the UCD net had to be alert on several occasions early on to keep UCD in the game.
With 10 minutes gone in the game it was clear that UCD were hanging on and conceding a goal could lead to a disastrous defeat for the Belfield Students. That goal arrived but thankfully the final outcome was rather different than anticipated. UCD conceded a free kick on the left hand side of the field and as Glenville's physical presence increased on the edge of the box the inswinging ball was flicked past the advancing Finnegan and Glenville had a deserved early lead.
UCD's Saturday team's history is full of poor results against the best teams when the pressure is on and this game threatened a similar outcome. The Students however reacted positively and began to stamp their own brand of football on the game. Conceding that any attempt to match Glenville's physical approach would be futile the Boys in Blue concentrated on getting to the ball first and using it well. This began to pay dividends as Eoin Roche and Paul Curtin gained the upper hand on the left hand side and fed Gary O'Toole who moved the ball forward at every opportunity.
UCD's equalising goal came courtesy of this combination. Roche played the ball into the feet of Philip Byrne who laid the ball off to O'Toole who's first time ball to Ryan McErlane on the right hand side was perfectly weighted and invited UCD's flank man to attack his opposite number. Having twisted and turned his opponent, McErlane drew back his right foot, executing a perfect fake and take before guiding the ball past the keeper with his left foot from the edge of the box.
This goal gave UCD the lift they needed and not long later the game had been turned on its head as UCD began to dominate as Lorcan Glancy's energy became too much for the Glenville midfield partnership.
UCD began the second half full of energy and were determined to hassle Glenville's back four every time they were in possession. Philip Byrne and Craig Sargeant pressured the defence into mistakes that Glancy and O'Toole capitalises as time and again UCD broke with speed.
UCD got their reward when Glancy picked up the ball in midfield and played an inch perfect pass to Philip Byrne who put his recent injury worries behind him to smash the ball past the Glenville keeper to give UCD a deserved lead. The tide was changing and it was coloured blue.
UCD's third goal arrived when poacher supreme Craig Sargeant punished some criminal defending firing the ball into the back of the net with the help of a slight deflection. The latest goal shocked Glenville and they began to throw more players forward. The UCD defence stood strong and took every opportunity to play the ball out of defence finding the ever willing midfield time and again.
Eoin Roche was a constant thorn in the side of the opposition defence and one foray forward was crudely halted by the Glenville keeper, marauding out of his box to challenge Roche, who's quickness of foot was too much for the stranded net minder, who was left with no option but to take him down. Free kick UCD, yellow card to the Keeper. Roche fired the resulting free into the back of the net but it was ruled out as the ball had not been touched by another player, apparently the foul on Roche was not deliberate.
4-1, but now back to 3-1, it wasn't long before it was 4-1 again. A mix up in the Glenville defence was pounced on by UCD substitute Daniel Connolly who selflessly squared the ball for Byrne who tapped home for his second. UCD had come from behind to put on an impressive footballing display that left Glenville chasing shadows at times. Glenville had once last attempt to alter proceedings and all they could muster was a controversial penalty that only altered the scoreline, leaving the 3 points safely in UCD's hands.
An inspired display from UCD's midfield 4 aided and abetted by the tireless work of the the Blues' strike partners ensured Glenville came off second best in a pulsating encounter as the Students' find themselves well placed to affect the top positions in the league.
UCD AFC: Finnegan, Mollumby, McFlynn, Bourke, Curtin, Roche (Daly), O'Toole, Glancy, McErlane (O'Callaghan), Sargeant (Connolly), Byrne,