WHEN they wake up feeling flustered this morning, all involved with St Patrick's Athletic will be praying that events at Belfield last night will not come back to haunt them at the season's end.
For so long in this Premier Division encounter, it seemed as though the league leaders were coasting to a comfortable victory.
In fact, as this game entered its final five minutes, Pat's seemed content to be running down the clock with a few late substitutions as they rested comfortably on a two-goal lead.
Then came disaster for the Inchicore club. Firstly, UCD substitute Timmy Purcell poked home from close range to give the students vague hope of taking something from this game.
Their hopes were justified. Nervy Pat's conceded a sloppy free as the game hit 90 minutes and the subsequent delivery ended up at the feet of another substitute in the form of Paul Byrne who smashed home a remarkable equaliser.
This was an opportunity for St Pat's to increase their lead at the top of the table to four points with Drogheda in Setanta Cup action this evening.
Yet, it's not just the pure and simple numerical cost that will trouble their supporters today. It's the potential psychological impact. After three defeats in four competitive games prior to this encounter, this was a chance to get back on track.
They failed to take it in the most remarkable of circumstances.
Prior to that, it seemed as though the story of this game would be the Mark Quigley show. The Premier Division's top scorer had lit up a previously timid encounter with a moment of individual brilliance in the 36th minute.
His meandering solo run resulted in a left-footed shot from 25 yards which gave Matt Gregg no chance.
The watching Leeds boss Dennis Wise - who managed Quigley at Millwall - will doubtless have been impressed.
Anto Murphy forced a top-drawer stop from Gregg before the break and, when Quigley created a second goal for the visitors just before the hour mark, the eventual outcome seemed to be a formality.
On this occasion, he showed trickery on the left flank before slipping the ball into the path of strike partner Gary O'Neill who found the target from ten yards.
With Alan Kirby and Dave Mulcahy already absent through injury and Joseph Ndo forced off with a setback midway through the first half, it appeared as though the patched-up Saints were showing impressive strength through adversity. Ultimately, though, they weakened noticeably and capitulated in spectacular fashion.
Their reaction to this will make for interesting viewing.
© Irish Independent