UCD 0 – 2 Bohemians
Another loss for the UCD soccer team last Friday has further compounded their position at the relegation end of the table. Stephen Devine reports
UCD continued their disappointing start to the season when they welcomed Bohemians to the Belfield Bowl on Friday night. The students, who are without a win since the first day of the season, started with a conservative formation which saw Graham Rusk playing in the lone striker role, as UCD tried to contain the firepower of the Bohemians’ strikers.
It was Bohemians who had the best of the early exchanges. After failing to adequately deal with a corner, it was only some super reflexes from UCD keeper, Ger Barron, which denied Bohemian’s an early lead. Bohemians Gary Burke constantly threatened down the left flank and it was only a couple of last ditch tackles and some poor Bohemians finishing that kept the sides level midway through the second half.
Darren Meenan was at the centre of anything that was good for the Students, as the midfielder caused Bohemians some trouble down the right flank. However, the final pass constantly failed to find its intended target and was easily dealt with by the visitors’ defence.
Another great chance went a-begging for Bohemians, as some great interlinking between Flood and Traynor should have opened the scoring for them. Clean through on goal, he could only send his shot wide of the target past the beaten Barron.
The half ended with consecutive Bohemians corners. The deadlock was finally broken with the last action of the half when Bohemians’ captain, Owen Heary, popped up unmarked at the back post to head beyond Barron and give the away side a deserved half-time lead. UCD, by comparison, failed to get a shot on target to worry the visitor’s keeper, Chris O’Connor, in the entire first half.
The Students returned having made two substitutions and with a different formation, now playing with five across the middle in an attempt to gain some supremacy in the midfield. The substitution of Meenan at half time was odd, having arguably been his side’s best player in the first half.
Despite the home side’s numerical advantage in midfield, it was still the visitors that enjoyed the majority of possession. UCD were under constant pressure down the right wing from Keith Buckley, and if his crossing had been more accurate, their lead could have easily been increased early in the second half.
Halfway through the period, Traynor found himself in a race to the ball with UCD’s goalkeeper Barron and it was the UCD man who won only for him to fail to alleviate the danger by sending his clearance skyward. Fortunately for the home side, they managed to scramble the ball clear to leave only a goal between the sides with 20 minutes to go.
As the half progressed, the visitors seemed content to sit back and defend their lead, allowing the home side to enjoy more possession. However, they were once again unable to construct any fluid passages of play and failed to worry the Bohemians keeper.
As the match progressed, the pitch started to show signs of wear and tear from the numerous rugby matches that have been played on it in the past few months. This led to both teams failing to control simple passes with large clumps of sand being seen when the ball bounced. As the season continues into the summer months, conditions will improve with soccer being the only sport to be played in the Belfield Bowl.
As UCD pushed more men forward in the final ten minutes in an attempt to find an equaliser, or even a shot on target, they were left exposed at the back. After centre back, Yarro Harro, failed to deal with a breaking ball, Anto Flood found himself clean through on goal. The former Shelbourne man made no mistake with his finish to put the result beyond doubt and give the visitors a deserved 2-0 win.
UCD will now need to regroup before their visit to Richmond Park next week to take on St Patrick’s Athletic, in a game in which they will face former UCD players, David and Evan McMillan. The Students’ lack of firepower upfront is going to make it another difficult campaign, and they will most likely find themselves in a relegation battle come the end of the season.
UCD AFC – Barron, O’Connor, Nangle, Haro, Leahy, Corry, Meenan (Marshall 45), Creevy, Rusk, Benson (Belhout 72), Langtry (Boyle 45)
Bohemian FC – O’Connor, Heary, O’Brien, Rossiter, Burns, Price, Burke (Bayly 64), Buckley (Forrestor 78), Flood, Traynor (Joyce 82), Brennan