UCD escaped the Bowl with a precious point after a late Killian Brennan goal for St Patrick’s Athletic was ruled out for offside in the dying embers of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash.
The reigning champions had taken an early lead through Christy Fagan before Samir Belhout poked home for the Students to condemn the Saints to a night of frustration.
The Saints may have been ahead within three minutes. A Chris Forrester cross was headed goal wards by Christy Fagan but young stopper Conor O’Donnell was equal to it.
From his save though, the ball rebounded out to Conan Byrne. He pushed the ball back across goal to the awaiting Fagan who poked home.
Referee Graham Kelly saw a handball from the ex UCD winger in the build-up and disallowed the goal as a result.
However, the champions did his the front on ten minutes. James Chambers dispossessed Robbie Creevy midway inside the Students half.
He carried the ball for a moment before delicately stroking the ball into the path of the roaming Chris Forrester.
He then slid the ball in behind the Students rear guard to Fagan who did the honours, smashing the ball past O’Donnell to put the champions in front.
Fagan was bamboozling UCD with some fine movement and in the 26th minute he almost doubled the Saints lead. His header from a Bermingham cross dipping over the crossbar.
Then, moments later and completely against the run of play, UCD equalised. Thomas O’Halloran slid the ball through to the awaiting Belhout who stabbed the ball under Brendan Clarke to bring the home side level.
Saints almost went back in front just two minutes later. First Bermingham’s shot was cleared off the line by the alert Mark Langtry.
In the same sequence of events, O’Donnell was again the UCD hero. The ball was looped back in after Bermingham’s shot and found its way to Byrne.
He tried to thunder the ball past O’Donnell but the young starlet made himself big and batted it to safety.
As if O’Donnell hadn’t had a busy enough evening so far, he then had to contend with a Fahey free kick. Once again though he managed to deny Pats with a well held save.
The beginning to the second half was not exactly a damp squib either, although the final ball was lacking in both camps.
The defending league champions found that end product though ten minutes into the second period. After a sustained spell of possession, the ball was worked wide to Conor McCormack.
From there, the Louth native took a single touch before swinging a sublime cross into the area and right onto the head of Fagan.
The finish did not match the set up though, the striker skewing the effort high and wide of O’Donnell’s net.
The game began to go flat after that. The only effort of the following ten minutes fell to the ever eager Fagan, who skied an effort in an inviting area at the edge of the area over O’Donnell’s crossbar.
The introduction of Michael Barker to the UCD fold just before the final quarter hour of Michael Barker naturally brought about a more defensive approach.
Pats began to enjoy a lot of possession in the UCD half, but apart from a snapshot from sub Daryl Kavanagh which was saved and a skied Forrester header their continued to be no breakthrough.
With eight minutes remaining, along came the controversy. Bermingham broke into the box before squaring the ball to Kavanagh.
He turned the ball towards the empty bottom corner with his first touch. It looked to be sneaking in but fellow sub Brennan helped it on the way, tapping it home from close range.
As he ran away in celebration though, linesman Trevor Cotter broke Saints hears as he belatedly raised his flag to disallow Pat’s a vital late winner which would have kept them atop the table.
UCD: Conor O’Donnell; Gareth Matthews, Hugh Douglas, James Kavanagh, Mark Langtry; Colm Crowe (Gary Burke 51), Robbie Creevy; Chris Mulhall, Robbie Benson, Thomas O’Halloran (Michael Barker 73); Samir Belhout
Subs not used: Ger Barron (gk), Michael Scott, Dwayne Wilson, Barry McCabe, Ian Ryan.
Booked: Barker (83), Benson (84)
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Conor McCormack, Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; James Chambers, Keith Fahey; Conan Byrne (Killian Brennan 65), Lee Lynch (Mark Quigley 82), Chris Forrester; Christy Fagan (Daryl Kavanagh 71)
Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin (gk), Lorcan Fitzgerald, Sean Hoare, Greg Bolger.
Referee: Graham Kelly
Extratime.ie Man of the match: Mark Langtry (UCD).