A draw at the UCD Bowl means Mick Cooke’s side have only picked up four wins in their last 20 league games
Martin Russell’s side will feel luck deserted them on a day where the fatigue of the visiting side was clear as UCD could only draw with Drogheda United. In an entertaining mid-table clash, goals from Dean Clarke and James Kavanagh were broken up by a Declan O’Brien double for the away side.
The visitors were to take the lead inside 10 minutes. Drogs midfielder David Cassidy’s lovely through ball fed Declan O’Brien who coolly finished, marking his 12th goal of the season.
The Students grabbed somewhat of a surprise equaliser. Dean Clarke provided a smart finish to level the score in what manager Martin Russell will hope to be a familiar sight following the sale of David McMillan to Sligo Rovers.
With half-time approaching, Drogheda went inches from retaking the lead. From the right, Cassidy floated the ball towards Peter Hynes, whose powerful header ricocheted off the frame of the goal.
Just after half time, UCD should have gone in front. Sean Russell’s delivery arrived at an unmarked Dean Clarke, but the forward skewed his header wide of the far post.
UCD were to take the lead in bizarre circumstances. A long punt up-field saw Gabriel Sava clearly catch the ball outside his area. The keeper was only cautioned, but James Kavanagh saw his resulting free kick find the bottom left corner.
However, Drogs equalised two minutes later. An unfortunate deflection saw goalkeeper Mark McGinley cannon the ball off Declan O’Brien which trickled into the net despite the efforts of Hugh Douglas.
With 20 minutes left, an audacious attempt from UCD midfielder Robbie Creevy nearly restored his side’s lead. The central midfielder’s bicycle kick had Sava worried in goal but the ball bounced wide.Drogheda went even closer to seizing a crucial advantage. Declan O’Brien looking for his hat-trick, saw his bullet header well kept out by the strong hand of Mark McGinley.
UCD somehow avoided being brought down to 10 men in the dying stages. A cynical tackle by captain David O'Connor hauled down Graham Rusk as he bared down on goal, with referee Anthony Buttimer only showing a yellow card.
Drogheda face reigning champions Sligo Rovers next as they attempt to address their worrying form. Meanwhile, UCD face a trip to European hopefuls Shamrock Rovers, and should have more confidence after a credible display against Drogs.