The South Dublin derby between UCD and St. Patrick’s Athletic finished 1-1 after a relatively quiet game at the UCD Bowl on Friday night.
The main highlight of the match was the passing and control shown by both sides, but neither team were able to create too many clear cut chances.
Liam Scales was the hero for the home side after a fabulous assist set up Conor Davis, who cancelled out Michael Drennan’s earlier goal.
Fresh from their third First Division title winning season, Collie O’Neill’s side have found the going tough upon their return to the top tier of Irish football with three defeats on the bounce against Derry City, Bohemians and Dundalk.
Neil Farrugia scored the Students solitary goal this year becoming the club’s top scorer in the process following his clinical strike away to Dundalk at Oriel Park.
Pats on the other hand have picked up seven points from a possible nine with wins over Sligo Rovers and FAI Cup runners up Cork City in the opening two weeks of the season, before drawing a blank against a dogged and resolute Finn Harps side on Monday evening at Richmond Park.
Recently recruited Mikey Drennan has had an electric start to life at the Emmett Road venue with two goals in his opening three games for a re-invigorated St Patrick’s Athletic.
Winless since 2011 against their Inchicore opposition, the Students made no changes from Monday’s defeat to Dundalk.
Pats boss, Harry Kenny, made three changes as he looked to produce a reaction from his Saints side following the disappointing draw and performance against Ollie Horgan’s men last time out.
Captain Ian Bermingham, Chris Forrester, and Brandon Miele came into the team as David Webster, Gary Shaw, and Ciarán Kelly all dropped to the bench.
From the opening minutes both sides displayed lovely passing and ball control, but neither team offered up anything too threatening.
The first real chance of the game fell to the home side after 21 minutes when Conor Davis’s shot forced Brendan Clarke to dive low, after a slick cross from fullback DanTobin.
The Students seemed to be taking control of the game but it was St. Pats who struck first with Drennan getting his third of the season.
The home side failed to clear a dangerous cross from Ian Bermingham and Drennan fired the ball into the top corner from close range.
The goal seemed to spark the visitors into life and they controlled the game until half time as they pressed for a second goal.
The first chance of the second half fell to Rhys McCabe when it looked like he had been put through on goal by Mikey Drennan.
But the ball got away from the Pats midfielder after a horrible first touch and UCD were able to easily clear the danger.
It may have been Conor Davis who scored UCD’s equaliser, but it was all about the assist from defender Liam Scales.
The centre back intercepted the ball deep in his own half and set off on a mazy run as Pats players initially stood off him.
When they realised the danger, Scales’ close control allowed him skip past a few challenges and into the box.
His cross was perfect and Conor Davis got in front of his marker to hammer the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
St. Patricks dominated the rest of the game and pressed hard for a second goal, with Simon Madden looking particularly impressive up the right flank.
While most of the football was being played deep in the home side’s half, Pats weren’t able to create any clear cut chances as their fans grew more and more impatient.
The Students managed to see the game out and will be delighted after a dogged second half performance gave them a deserved draw against an imposing St. Patrick’s Athletic side.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Daniel Tobin, Mark Dignam, Liam Scales, Josh Collins; Paul Doyle (Richie O’Farrell 46), Neil Farrugia, Gary O’Neill, Conor Davis (Yoyo Mahdy 81), Timmy Molloy, Jason McClelland.
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan, Evan Farrell, Darragh Corcoran, Conor Crowley, Sean McDonald.
Booked: Paul Doyle (45), Dan Tobin (67), Josh Collins (83).
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Kevin Toner, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Jamie Lennon; Conor Clifford, Rhys McCabe (Gary Shaw 81), Brandon Miele (James Doona 69), Chris Forrester; Mikey Drennan.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy (gk), David Webster, Darragh Markey, Ciaran Kelly, Cian Coleman.
Referee: Robert Harvey.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Liam Scales (UCD).