By Robert O’Reilly
Drogheda United are once again top of the First Division table after they defeated UCD 2-0 at United Park.
Second-half goals from Gareth McCaffrey and Lee Duffy were enough for Drogheda to end UCD’s undefeated start to the season as the Boynesiders leapfrogged their opponents.
Drogheda boss Tim Clancy made one change from the side that lost last week to Cabinteely as Sean Brennan returned to the starting XI in place of Kealan Dillon.
A sloppy opening from both sides meant that chances were at a premium with Richie Purdy having the first genuine strike of the game. His hit from 30-yards out seemed destined for the top corner before UCD keeper Conor Kearns produced a fantastic save to tip the ball over the bar.
UCD had the ball in the back of the net moments later but Daire O’Connor was rightly flagged offside as he slipped the ball beyond Drogheda keeper Paul Skinner.
The Students should have gone in front on 27 minutes when Paul Doyle raced free down the left and he picked out Georgie Kelly who took a touch before seeing his low strike well saved by Skinner.
Relived by the let-off, Drogheda went down the other end and nearly scored as McCaffrey headed over from Sean Brennan’s corner-kick delivery.
Georgie Kelly was a constant threat throughout and he brought another fine save out of Skinner early in the second-half who denied him with his feet.
The deadlock was finally broken on 52 minutes as Duffy raced past his full-back and his cross was met by Luke Gallagher and he flicked it inside for McCaffrey who buried the ball home at the near post. His fourth goal in three games.
UCD’s threat had waned considerably midway through the second-half but they almost caught Drogheda cold as Timmy Molloy was played through on goal and before he could round Skinner, the recovering Gallagher made a vital clearance to end the danger
The hosts doubled their lead on 67 minutes as an inch-perfect through ball over the top by Sean Brennan released Duffy who made no mistake in firing low into the far corner from the edge of the box.
UCD pressed forward in the hope of halving the deficit and the closest they came was when Ben Hanrahan’s snap-shot from 12-yards out was parried by Skinner with Mark Doyle completing the clearance.
Victory for Drogheda was the perfect response to last week’s 3-2 defeat against Cabinteely and they will be looking to build on this momentum with back-to-back home games against St Mochta’s on Monday and then Longford Town on Friday.
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Luke Gallagher, Kevin Farragher, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Kane; Lee Duffy (Kealan Dillon 90’), Sean Brennan (Stephen Meaney 78’), Richie Purdy, Jake Hyland, Mark Doyle; Gareth McCaffrey
Subs: Luca Gratzer, Chris Lyons, Sean Trimble, Eoin McPhillips, Victor Ekanem
UCD: Conor Kearns; Daniel Tobin, Liam Scales, Josh Collins, Paul Doyle; Daire O’Connor, Gary O’Neill, Kevin Coffey; Timmy Molloy, Jason McClelland, Georgie Kelly
Subs: Carl Williams, Darragh Corcoran, Mark Dignam, Conor Crowley, Yoyo Mahdy
DroghedaUnited.ie Man of the Match: Lee Duffy