Macdara Ferris reports from the UCD Bowl
UCD moved three points clear of bottom placed Finn Harps on Monday night with a backs to the wall 1-0 win over Bohemians at the UCD Bowl. Bohs slipped up in their quest for runners up spot in the league as they failed to get the victory that would have moved them to within three points of second placed Shamrock Rovers. However the Gypsies can certainly feel hard done by with a loss in a game that they dominated.
The warm evening sunshine for this midweek match gave the game a feel of a European affair and Bohs who currently sit third in the table will be hoping that this time next year they will be in the midst of a Europa League run and could have done with the three points on offer.
For the Students it is all about avoiding relegation so that they can be in the Premier Division next year. With the haemorrhaging of players after the end of the exams a few weeks ago, Collie O’Neill’s men looked doomed but they followed up their win over Finn Harps with their first away point of the season away to Derry to take themselves off the bottom of the table.
They kept the momentum up results wise in this game with the crucial moment coming when the Students grabbed the lead inside eight minutes with a powerful strike from Yoyo Mahdy. He held off James Finnerty in the tackle to take the ball clear of the Bohs defender and rifled the ball home from 20 yards.
UCD followed that up within a couple of minutes with a few more shots from distance, first from Jason McCelland and then from one of the new signings Jack Keaney. The former Sligo player took a pot shot from distance after a nice move that McCelland started that also involved Mahdy.
However they couldn’t trouble James Talbot in the Bohs goal and the Gypsies began to get the upper hand in the game with Keith Ward and Danny Mandriou centrally involved in the best that Bohs could offer.
When Ward was taken down on the edge of the box, Mandriou put the free kick over the UCD wall and crossbar. On 18 minutes, Ward slotted a ball through the UCD back three but again Mandriou put his effrt wide of goal. It was a similar story two minutes later as the Students simply stood off allowing him shoot.
Conor Kearns was forced into a save mid-way through the half after Ward and Mandriou linked up to free Kevin Devaney to shoot. While Ward had the ball in the net soon after but it was correctly ruled out for offside. Finnerty got up from the back late on to get sight of goal and then Evan Farrell put in a superb clearance just as Mandriou was about to pull the trigger in front of goal.
Daniel Tobin went in referee Derek Tomney’s book within five minutes of the restart for a strong challenge on Mandroiu but he blazed the short free kick that Ward took short for him. It looked like Bohs had got their equaliser moments later when Ward went close with a lob when he went clear on goal. It seemed destined to beat Kearns but the ‘keeper stretched to get a couple of finger tips to save the Students.
Keith Long lost patience at that point and made a double substitution on 56 minutes bringing former Student Ryan Swan on along with Conor Levingston. The sense of frustration amongst the sizeable travelling support continued to rise as the Gypsies seemed to lay siege to the Students goal and yet couldn’t find a breakthrough with UCD slowing the game down at every opportunity.
With 20 minutes remaining Kearns was called upon to flick a whipped shot from Mandriou over his crossbar and Bohs captain Derek Pender let fly from 40 yards but couldn’t trouble Kearns.
As Bohs pressed on, it gave the Students a chance to break and McCelland put an effort into the side netting ten minutes from time much to the relief of the Bohs supporters.
UCD’s time wasting resulted in a yellow card for the injured Evan Farrell who didn’t walk off the pitch after receiving treatment quick enough for Derek Tomney’s liking and Kearns also went in the book for slowing things down after the 90 minutes had ticked by.
Deep into the six minutes of injury time, Leahy’s header on the edge of the six yard box was brilliantly saved by Kearns to keep the clean sheet and secure the win for the Students on a disappointing night for Keith Long’s men.
UCD: Conor Kearns; Daniel Tobin, Harry McEvoy, Evan Farrell; Richie O'Farrell, Yousef Mahdy, Paul Doyle ©, Jack Keaney, Mark Dignam; Jason McClelland; Danu Kinsella Bishop (Dara Keane 67).
Subs not used: Gavin Sheridan (gk), Jack Ryan, Dan Mullen, Aaron McGrath, Luke Boore, Isaac Akinsete.
Booked: Daniel Tobin (51), Paul Doyle (66), Evan Farrell (82), Conor Kearns (90+8).
Bohemians: James Talbot; Derek Pender ©, Michael Barker (Dawson Devoy 79), James Finnerty, Darragh Leahy; Luke Wade-Slater, Keith Buckley, Robbie McCourt (Conor Levinston 56), Kevin Devaney (Ryan Swan 56); Danny Mandroiu, Keith Ward.
Subs not used: Jamie Cleary (gk), Ryan Graydon, Paddy Kirk, Scott Allardice.
Booked: Michael Barker (59), James Finnerty (90+1)
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Conor Kearns (UCD)
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