League Report: Drogheda United 2 - 1 UCD
- Gerard Grimes
- Sun, Oct 16 2016
Drogheda United have secured a place in the First Division Promotion playoff against Cobh Ramblers after a 2-1 victory over UCD at United Park on Saturday evening.
It was Drogheda who had the first chance of the game five minutes in as the ball was played to Adam Wixted in the box. Wixted swivelled and shot, only to see his volley hit the post and roll away for UCD to clear away.
It was after that chance that UCD started to grow into the game, passing the ball around well. The Students good play began to show dividends as they almost took the lead 22 minutes in.
A long throw in from the right was flicked on by Georgie Kelly, only for Stephen McGuinness to get down well to save it as it looked destined for the bottom corner. UCD had a player at the back post for the follow up but his effort hit the side netting.
That miss was to prove crucial as just five minutes later Gareth McCaffrey picked up the ball on the left, played it into Griffin who turned his man before finishing low past Corbet from the edge of the box.
UCD, though, were not about to back down and came back into the game again. However, their equaliser would come through a lack of concentration by the home side just before half time.
Ryan Swan won the ball back in the Drogheda half before playing a brilliant through ball to his full back Mark Langtry who calmly slotted the ball beyond Stephen McGuinness.
The second half would then start at a ferocious pace with both sides having chances to take the lead.
First, just two minutes into the half, UCD captain Gary O'Neil unleashed a stunning strike from 30 yards only for it to be met by an equally stunning save by Stephen McGuinness.
Then, less than five minutes later, Drogheda had an effort of their own cleared off the line. Marc Griffin won the ball back, played through Sean Thornton who shot under pressure and saw his effort cleared off the line by Tomás Boyle.
Drogheda then had a great chance to level the scoring on the hour mark as Gareth McCaffrey attempted to lob the outrushing Niall Corbet only for the UCD keeper to parry the ball as far as Hyland who failed to capitalise on the chance as his pass to Thornton was too heavy.
The home side would take the lead just minutes later with what would prove to be the winning goal. Stephen Dunne won the ball back deep inside his own before playing a superb through ball to Marc Griffin on the left.
Griffin then ran at the UCD defence, taking two players towards him before cutting back to Wixted, who beat his man before finishing expertly by Corbet from the edge of the box.
UCD almost hit back with a goal of their own just five minutes later as a dangerous cross from substitute Cathal Brady found Greg Sloggett five yards out. Sloggett's point blank header was then somehow heroicly tipped over by Stephen McGuinness.
That chance would spur Drogheda back into life as they would continue to pile the pressure on UCD for the remainder of the game as the Students struggled to find a way back into the game.
The Boynesiders would have one more chance to make it 3-1 and it was again Stephen Dunne who started the move as he played Ashe in on goal only for Corbet to parry his first effort before the rebound, also from Ashe, went over the bar.
There would be four minutes of added time played out and Drogheda would hold on to run out 2-1 winners over UCD, sending them through to take on Cobh Ramblers in the playoff.
Drogheda United: Stephen McGuinness; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Stephen Dunne; Sean Thornton (C), Richie Purdy (John McKeown 83'), Jake Hyland (Lloyd Buckley 89'); Adam Wixted, Marc Griffin, Gareth McCaffrey (Aaron Ashe 79').
Unused Subs: Patrick Dunican (GK), Derek Doyle, Mark Doyle, Liam Donnelly.
Yellow Cards: Sean Thornton (44'), Richie Purdy (62').
UCD AFC: Niall Corbet; Mark Langtry, Maxim Kouogun, Tomás Boyle, Liam Scales (Cathal Brady 67'); Jason McClelland (Simon Power 78'), Gary O'Neill, Greg Sloggett, Kieran 'Marty' Waters (Jason Byrne 71'); Georgie Kelly, Ryan Swan.
Unused Subs: Conor O'Donnell (GK), Daire O'Connor, Josh Collins, Jack Watson.
Yellow Cards: Ryan Swan (44'), Gary O'Neil (77').
Referee: Robert Hennessey.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Stephen McGuinness (Drogheda United).
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