Hugh Douglas and Sean Russell struck to give Martin Russell’s side their first win of the 2013 season as they beat the Hoops 2-0 in a smash and grab performance
Goals from Hugh Douglas and Sean Russell earned UCD a vital first league win as they defeated Shamrock Rovers in an entertaining encounter at the UCD Bowl.
Trevor Croly’s men started brightest, forcing several corners and Karl Sheppard was unlucky not to give the visitors an early lead when he glanced a header just wide of Mark McGinley’s upright. The Rovers' front man had another chance in the 16th minute when he was played through by Gary McCabe, but fired over from the edge of the area.
UCD struggled to settle into the game with Rovers particularly dominant in midfield. With the first half nearing its conclusion, the impressive James Chambers fired a free kick just wide of McGinley’s post. In a rare UCD forward move, Gary Burke latched on to a David McMillan pass but his shot was gather easily by the alert Barry Murphy in the Hoops goal.
UCD began the second half more positively, with Burke and Robert Creevy linking up well on the right wing but Creevy’s cross was fruitless. After that, normal service was resumed with Hoops captain Shane Robinson forcing a neat save from Ger Barron, who replaced the injured McGinley in the UCD goal at half time. Billy Dennehey then tested the replacement keeper with a long-range effort in the 53rd minute.
The pressure continued to grow on the home side and McCabe acrobatically bicycle-kicked a clever cross over from six yards. But, despite the away side’s dominance, the UCD defence looked solid with Thomas Boyle and David O’Connor making several important clearances and blocks.
In the 64th minute, Billy Dennehy missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock when McCabe found him unmarked at the back post but he skewed his left foot volley away from goal.
Rovers’ onslaught never slowed and Barron was in action again in the 70th minute as he stooped to gather a tame Robinson header. The midfielder should have done much better but he failed to generate enough power from a looping cross.
In the 76th minute, the home side were rewarded for their defensive display when Hugh Douglas guided a header from a deep Russell free kick past the helpless Murphy in the Hoops’ goal.
Minutes later, Rovers nearly levelled when Barron was forced to parry a powerful Chambers’ free kick upwards onto the bar. At the other end, Murphy had to touch another Russell free kick over the bar.
UCD continued to defend until the end, before Sean Russell wrapped the game with a last minute goal.
UCD will be buoyed by their first win of the season when they travel to Shelbourne next time while Rovers face a difficult task against champions Sligo Rovers in Tallaght.