Josh Dolan reports the UCD Bowl
UCD stretched their lead to four points at the top of the First Division table with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Drogheda United at the UCD Bowl on Friday night.
Goals in either half from the ever prolific Georgie Kelly helped the Students to all three points.
It was UCD who started the brighter and the Students were unlucky not to open the scoring after just two minutes when Daire O’Connor’s shot was well saved by Paul Skinner after a knock down by Jason McClelland.
Drogheda came up with a chance of their own moments later as Jake Hyland’s effort from long range was well matched by Students stopper Conor Kearns.
The home side came within inches of opening the scoring on 12 minutes as a scramble in the air resulted in the ball coming back off the Drogs cross-bar, but the Louth men managed to clear to safety.
However, the Students weren’t to be denied nine minutes later, as O’Connor picked McClelland out on the left, his teasing ball found Kelly at the far post and he finished calmly to put Collie O’Neill’s men in front.
After that, UCD continued to grow into the game as Kevin Coffey played a one-two with O’Connor before firing wide of Skinner’s far post.
Sean Brennan came closest for the visitors in the first half as he found himself in space 25 yards out, only to see his effort curl narrowly wide of Kearns’ post after 31 minutes.
UCD started the second half as they finished the first, on the front foot. Jason McClelland drifted into the penalty area from the left before shooting powerfully at Skinner, but the Drogs stopper recovered well to save and claim the ball.
The Students thought they were two up seven minutes into the second half after Kelly bundled home a rebound after McClleland’s shot. However assistant referee Darren Carey put his flag up for off-side.
O’Connor had a chance to double UCD’s lead a couple of minutes later as the ball deflected off Gary O’Neill and into his path, but his effort sailed wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.
Despite not creating much, Drogheda could’ve been level moments later as Chris Lyons found space in the box before seeing his shot saved by the feet of Conor Kearns in the UCD goal.
It was on the 81st minute when the Students made sure of the points as once again Georgie Kelly rose highest to head home O’Neill’s free kick from six yards out.
Collie O’Neill’s men continued to attack and could have had a third as Kelly fought off two Drogs defenders before dragging a shot just wide of the far post.
The Students had one last effort to make it three in stoppage time but a powerful effort by substitute Yoyo Mahdy was tipped over the bar by Drogs net-minder Skinner.
UCD: Conor Kearns, Darragh Corcoran, Josh Collins, Liam Scales, Evan Osam; Gary O’Neill, Greg Sloggett (Paul Doyle 90+2), Kevin Coffey (Yoyo Mahdy 65); Daire O’Connor (Sean McDonald 87), Georgie Kelly, Jason McClelland.
Subs Not Used: Gavin Sheridan, Dan Tobin, Conor Crowley.
Booked: Greg Sloggett (24), Darragh Corcoran (45).
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner, Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Conor Kane,Ciaran Kelly; Luke Gallagher, Jake Hyland, Sean Brennan, Richie Purdy (Gareth McCaffrey 57); Mark Doyle (William Hondermarck 87), Chris Lyons.
Subs Not Used: Luka Graizer, Llyod Buckley, Victor Ekanem, Kealan DIllon, Eoin McPhillips.
Booked: Jake Hyland (56).
Referee: Tom Dempsey.
Attendance: 300 (Estimate).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Jason McClleland (UCD).
First Division - GOAL 82': Georgie Kelly heads home a corner from Gary O'Neill for his second of the night!— UCD AFC (@UCDAFC) June 8, 2018
UCD 2 - 0 Drogheda pic.twitter.com/eLOd753uxN