League Report: UCD 0 - 3 Shamrock Rovers

All smiles for Trevor Clarke who scored his fourth goal in five games this evening

All smiles for Trevor Clarke who scored his fourth goal in five games this evening Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from UCD Bowl

Shamrock Rovers went top of the table for the first time this season after their comprehensive 3-0 win at the UCD Bowl was coupled with Bohemians’ 1-0 loss at home to Derry City.

With eight wins and one draw from their last nine games, along with this evening’s results, Rovers now have a two point lead over second place Derry City and Bohemians as the Gypsies drop to third spot.

The Hoops made it 14 consecutive wins over UCD in the league, thanks to goals from Trevor Clarke, Aaron Greene and an unfortunate own goal from Adam Wells.

With one eye on Monday’s night match against St. Patrick’s Athletic, Stephen Bradley made five changes to his starting XI from their 2-0 win last week over Bohs including bringing in Aaron Greene for his first start of the season.

For Andy Myler he named Luke O’Regan in place of Jess Dempsey from their loss to Shels. He also changed from a back five formation that he deployed against the Hoops in Tallaght when they lost 3-0 last month, using a 4-1-4-1 lineup on this occasion.

With Jack Byrne not part of the match day squad for the Hoops, the set pieces were left to Markus Poom.

The Estonian international delivered five first half corners into the UCD box that caused the Students plenty of difficulties.

Johnny Kenny, Sean Hoare and Pico Lopes all had headers that directed Poom set pieces goalwards but they couldn’t truly trouble Kian Moore in the UCD goal.

From distance Graham Burke forced Moore into a save, with Johnny Kenny almost capitalising when the UCD netminder didn’t take it cleanly. Ciaran Behan’s barnstorming run from his own half saw Rovers back peddling furiously but the Students couldn’t fashion a goal scoring chance.

The Hoops looked to go long at times hitting a number of long diagonals to Trevor Clarke on the left but when the opening goal came it was from a great run from deep by Clarke on 16 minutes.

He scored his fourth goal in five games taking the ball up from the half way line, ghosting by Luke O'Regan, playing a one-two with Graham Burke, before slotting it home with his left inside the area.

Burke, Greene and Ronan Finn all went close with shots as Rovers moved the ball quickly in front of the UCD back four but their best chance to add to their score before the break came to Hoare off a Poom free kick from half way. The Rovers defender snatched at the chance with the goal at his mercy.

Bradley brought on Sean Gannon in place of skipper Ronan Finn at the break.

Rovers’ second goal came from another Poom corner. The ball had come to Kenny from the right and when his shot was blocked, Rovers recycled the ball with Poom’s cross beating the inrushing Lopes and Hoare but not Greene.

He was on hand to tap in from inside the six yard box coming from the back post to get his first of the season.

Burke went close just after the hour mark with a low shot that Moore pushed around the post and that was his last contribution as he was replaced by Conan Noonan with Rory Gaffney coming on for Johnny Kenny.

It was Rovers’ fourth sub who set up the Hoops final goal. Justin Ferizaj had only come on when his cross in the 71st minute deflecting off Adam Wells and into the UCD goal to make it 3-0.

Darragh Nugent hit the post soon after but Rovers couldn’t add to the goalscoring tally before the end.

Andy Myler’s men will be glad to see the back of a Rovers team who have kept a clean sheet against the Students in each of their last ten league encounters.

Rovers’ win was their fifth in a row, to go with five consecutive wins away from home without conceding a goal, and our showing the type of form has won them the last three league titles.

UCD: Kian Moore; Luke O'Regan, Jack Keaney, Adam Wells, Evan Osam; Michael Gallagher Sami Clarke 57); Donal Higgins (Jesse Dempsey 57), Alex Nolan (Harry O'Connor 66), Ciaran Behan, Daniel Norris (Jake Doyle 65); Danu Kinsella Bishop (Divine Izekor 84).
Subs not used: Fintan Agnew, Ryan Bowden, Colin Bolton.
Booked: Michael Gallagher (32).

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Daniel Cleary, Pico Lopes, Sean Hoare; Ronan Finn (Sean Gannon 46), Darragh Nugent, Markus Poom, Trevor Clarke; Graham Burke (Conan Noonan 64), Aaron Greene (Justin Ferizaj 70), Johnny Kenny (Rory Gaffney 64).
Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Lee Grace, Richie Towell, Gary O'Neill, Neil Farrugia.
Booked: Trevor Clarke (23).

Referee: David Dunne
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Trevor Clarke (Shamrock Rovers)