/ Soccer

UCD 2-2 Drogheda United

Updated: Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 18:02 | Comments

Declan O'Brien hit a double for the visitors
Declan O'Brien hit a double for the visitors

Goalkeeper Mark McGinley earned UCD a vital point in their battle against relegation in an incident-packed 2-2 draw with Drogheda United at the UCD Bowl.

Declan O'Brien put Drogheda ahead on ten minutes before Dean Clarke levelled for College nine minutes later.

UCD then went ahead from a James Kavanagh free-kick on 55 minutes before O'Brien hit back to equalise within a further minute.

Then, with Drogheda pressing in stoppage time, UCD had to defend frantically as first the width of a post deprived O’Brien of a hat-trick.

McGinley then made a terrific parry save to clear Michael Daly’s fiercely struck shot.

From the resulting corner Alan Byrne’s header was flicked goalwards by Gary O’Neill.

But McGinley showed brilliant reflexes to tip the ball over the bar.

Drogheda, on the rebound from their Europa League exit, and desperate to end a run of just one points from their last six games, showed no sign of fatigue early on in what was their sixth game in 17 days and were ahead on ten minutes.

Midfielder David Cassidy threaded a delightful ball through for the perfectly timed run of skipper O’Brien who showed good composure to slide the ball under the advancing McGinley.

But for McGinley Drogheda would have been further ahead on 17 minutes as the keeper did well to palm away Gavin Brennan’s shot after he’d ghosted in unmarked at the back post from a Cassidy free kick.

How UCD will cope following the departure to Sligo Rovers of their topscorer David McMillan, who’d scored 12 of their 28 goals this season, will be the big question hanging over the remainder of their season.

But they got a possible answer on 19 minutes when poor Drogheda defending was clinically punished.

Clarke turned Byrne a little too easily and drilled a stunning low drive past Gabriel Sava to the far corner for a fine finish.

Martin Russell's side continued to look most vulnerable at the back and Drogheda came within inches of regaining the lead on 25 minutes, Ryan Brennan’s first time volley flying just wide from Michael Daly’s deep cross from the right.

It was end to end stuff, though, and Robbie Creevy blew a real chance to put UCD ahead on the half hour when shooting straight at Sava after Clarke had skilfully chested the ball down to him in the box.

Neither defence was covering themselves in glory as the woodwork rescued UCD back at the other four minutes before the break.

Cassidy whipped over a cross form the right and Peter Hynes’ header crashed wide off a post.

The game remained wide open into the second half with Clarke missing a glorious chance four minutes in when heading tamely wide from a superb cross from Sean Russell.

A madcap couple of minutes then saw both sides score.

UCD went ahead on 55 minutes when Sava handled the ball way outside his box.

Robbie Benson touched the resulting free kick to Kavanagh who drilled the ball low to the corner of the net.

A minute later Drogheda were level. UCD defender Hugh Douglas was lax in trying to shepherd the ball back to McGinley.

The keeper’s attempted bat away saw the ball come off the in-rushing O’Brien and it trickled through to cross the line.

The visitors had the woodwork to thank on 73 minutes when Creevy’s audacious overhead kick went wide off Sava’s left-hand upright before the late heroics at the other.

UCD: McGinley; Matthews, Douglas, O’Connor, Langtry; Belhout (Burke, 69), Creevy (McCabe, 81), Kavanagh, Russell; Benson; Clarke.

Drogheda United: Sava; Daly, Byrne, Grimes, G. Brennan; Cassidy, O’Conor, O’Neill, R. Brennan (Marks, 83); O’Brien, Hynes (Rusk, 62).

Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).

Attendance: 253.

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