A hat-trick from Cillian Morrison helped UCD to a 5-3 victory in a pulsating affair with ten-man Bray Wanderers at The Carlisle Grounds on Friday night.
There were some astounding individual performances with Cillian Morrison scoring a magnificent hat-trick, but a share of the plaudits have to go to David Cassidy, who bagged a brace, and Jake Kelly who was at the heart of everything that the Seagulls created on Friday night.
UCD took the lead after just three minutes. Starlet, Ayman Ben Mohamed broke quickly down the left wing before finding Morrison who slotted the ball into Shane Redmond’s bottom corner to put the Students 1-0 up.
The goal provoked an effective response from Bray. Jake Kelly broke down the left wing and surged into the box before unleashing a powerful shot. However, his effort was well saved by Conor O’Donnell in The UCD goal.
After a period of domination the Seagulls equalised as Shane Byrne played an exquisite ball to David Cassidy on the left hand touchline. Cassidy then played a low ball across the Student’s penalty box and Shane O’Connor was on hand to blast the ball past O’Donnell and into the bottom corner of the net.
The Seagulls continued their domination and were in front just six minutes later. Cassidy found Jake Kelly with a long diagonal pass, Kelly then drove into the UCD penalty area before returning the ball to Cassidy who was well placed to blast the ball home from six yards out.
Bray could and should have been 3-1 up on the half hour mark. Ismahil Akinade was picked out in space on the left wing and he then crossed to Jake Kelly, who headed narrowly wide of O’Donnell’s goal.
Akinade had a chance to further Bray’s lead a couple of minutes before half-time when he was picked out by Cassidy’s back heel, before going onto fire high and wide of the UCD goal.
UCD looked a completely different outfit in the second half and in the 52nd minute they should have been level when Chris Mulhall found Robbie Creevy, who volleyed narrowly over the cross-bar.
UCD levelled just after the hour mark. Creevy slid Morrison through on goal before the striker fired the ball into the top corner. Mark Langtry then put The Students 3-2 in front ten minutes later. The full back played a neat one two with Ben Mohamed before cutting inside David Webster and firing the ball low and hard into the bottom corner of the net.
There was more drama on 81 minutes when Bray were awarded a free kick deep inside their own half. Dean Clarke tried to stop the Bray goalkeeper, Redmond, from taking the free kick quickly. Redmond reacted angrily and lashed out at Clarke and, with referee Anthony Buttimer only a couple of yards away, the Bray net minder was inevitably dismissed.
Despite being down to ten men Bray rallied and equalised once more on 87 minutes. Cassidy latched onto a long hopeful ball before lobbing the ball over the advancing O’Donnell to grab his second goal of the game.
However, the Seagulls’ joy was short lived and UCD went in front yet again on the 90 minute mark. Robbie Benson’s free kick was headed on by Tomas Boyle,and Morrison tapped the ball in to grab his hat-trick.
The Students wrapped it up in the final seconds of stoppage time as midfield maestro Robbie Benson burst through the Wanderers’ defensive ranks before playing the ball to Dean Clarke who slotted the ball home to secure the victory.
Bray Wanderers: Shane Redmond; David Webster, Adam Mitchell, Shane O’Connor, Robert Maloney; Dean Zambra, Graham Kelly (Shane O’Neill 87), David Cassidy; Shane Byrne (Dave Scully 68), Ismahil Akinade, Jake Kelly (Stephen McGuinness 82).
Subs Not Used: Niall Cooney, Jamie McGlynn; Gary Curran; Ciaran Byrne.
Booked: G Kelly (5), S O’Neill (90).
Sent Off: Redmond (81).
UCD: Conor O’Donnell; Michael Barker, Ian Ryan (Hugh Douglas 33), Tomas Boyle, Mark Langtry; Robbie Creevy (James Kavanagh 76), Robbie Benson, Dean Clarke; Chris Mulhall, Cillian Morrison, Ayman Ben Mohamed (Dwayne Wilson 85).
Subs Not Used: Mark McGinley, Gareth Matthews, Colm Crowe, Gary Burke.
Booked: Boyle (8), Clarke (76), Barker (81).
Referee: Anthony Buttimer.
Attendance: 450 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Man Of The Match: Cillian Morrison (UCD).