By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United came from behind twice to secure a point as they drew 2-2 away to fellow promotion hopefuls UCD at the UCD Bowl.
Ryan Swan gave the Students an early lead before Eoin Kirwan capitalised on a defensive mistake though Drogheda fell behind again courtesy of Gary O’Neill’s deflected free-kick before Sam O’Connor equalised in a dramatic first-half.
UCD took the lead inside the opening 15 minutes as a long ball out of defence was well controlled by Dylan Watts and he exchanged passes with Swan before releasing the striker through on goal and he lifted the ball over the onrushing Stephen McGuinness.
Despite UCD’s dominance in possession, Drogheda levelled 10 minutes later as Adam Wixted worked a yard of space on the right before cutting inside and crossing to the backpost for Sean Brennan and his header was parried by Niall Corbet in goal leaving Kirwan with a simple tap-in for his third goal of the season
Wixted was causing the UCD defence problems on the wing and he was the next to go close as his free-kick brought out an impressive save from Corbet on the half hour mark.
It was a set-piece that saw the Students retake the lead as a late challenge by Niall Cooney on Swan gave UCD a free-kick 25 yards out and O’Neill’s deflected strike wrong footed McGuinness before finding the back of the net.
There was a resiliency to the visitors’ display and they deservedly equalised two minutes before the break as Sean Brennan capitalised on a mistake in possession by Maxi Kouogun and he released O’Connor through the middle and he drove the ball beyond the UCD ‘keeper.
UCD had the better of the chances in the second-half with Kieran Marty Waters cutting inside twice with his cross and then shot bouncing narrowly wide of the far post.
Drogheda’s best opportunity of the second period arrived on 75 minutes when drove between two players and then cut the ball back to the edge of the box for Kirwan but his dangerous looking half-volley was well blocked by Kouogun.
Swan almost stole all three points for the home side at the death as hist shot from inside the box was brilliantly tipped behind by McGuinness as both side had to settle for a point.
Drogheda will go in search of their first win in three on Friday when they travel to the RSC to face Waterford United.
Brian Shortall (Tomás Boyle 45)
Greg Sloggett (Georgie Kelly 70)
Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters (Jason McClelland 62)
Adam Wixted (Derek Doyle 90)
Eoin Kirwan (Aaron Ashe 81)
Sam O’Connor (Marc Griffin 82).