THERE MAY not have been quite the drama here that the crowd at United Park was treated to but after the windswept tussles of midweek, both sides reminded us of their ability to play football and the hosts, though flattered a bit, perhaps, by Ryan Guy’s two late goals, maintained their early season charge to stay top of the table.
The locals generally had the better of a contest they led from the midway point courtesy of Vinny Faherty but Guy’s late strikes, both inside the last five minutes, put a bit of a gloss on things, although it is hard to quibble with a record that currently reads three wins from three with seven goals scored and none conceded.
The students passed the ball well and battled hard for it when they had to, although as might be expected, they largely lost out when it when it came to the physical side of things.
That, though, could hardly be said to have cost them the game, although it hardly helped as they sought to chase the game through the second half, Faherty having given the hosts the lead during the minute or so added on by the referee for the stoppages at the end of the first half.
It is, as the cliche goes, a bad time to concede, although it was probably the manner in which his young side gave the goal away that will have annoyed Russell most.
Evan McMillan was the chief culprit, gifting the ball to Faherty 25 yards out after which the former Galway United man rather coolly chipped Andy Boyle before racing through, as McMillan and goalkeeper Billy Brennan collided, to score.
The lead was, on balance, just about deserved for while UCD had worked hard to contain their opponents they had looked slightly second best through virtually the whole of the opening period.
Boyle and McMillian had actually done fairly well in central defence but there were still moments when they were lucky to scrape by, most notably the two occasions when Alex Williams needed only to get a forehead to the ball to score but couldn’t do so and the time Guy was sent racing clear only for Brennan to block his shot with his feet.
The visitors, to be fair, played their way back into things after the break, improved by the changes, it seemed, and spurred on by the need to get a goal.
Somewhat inevitably, though, they left themselves a little more open as they sought to push forward.
A Ciarán Nangle cross just over an hour in left Gary Rogers looking on helplessly and the home support was relieved to see the ball come back off the crossbar.
But the students were rather lucky themselves a few minutes later when Williams went past Nangle at the other end and then did well to cut the ball back sharply for Faherty, who scooped his shot from 15 yards fractionally wide.
The visitors were less lucky in the 86th and 88th minutes, with Conor Sinnott and Gareth Coughlan combining to set up Guy’s first, which Brennan should really have saved, Paul Byrne doing all the hard work to pave the way for the second.
UCD were left to lick their wounds while their hosts will now look to maintain their strong run of form in tricky league games with Dundalk and Sporting Fingal before their first clash of the season with Bohemians
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