THE DREAM of a second successive league title remains the dream as St Patrick's Athletic achieved the reality of a ninth successive home win to keep in touch with the chasing pack with a 3-2 win over UCD.
It's a case of 'as you were' in terms of the championship race following last night's round of games with wins for Dundalk, Cork City and St Pats, the chase for the 2014 title now moving on to Monday's round of games.
But despite that stunning home record - if they beat Limerick at Richmond Park on Monday it will be their 10th straight home league win - Pats boss Liam Buckley will demand more from his men in the tests ahead.
Pats, who could have been 5-0 up at half time, scraped home in the end with a 3-2 win, UCD scoring twice in the closing minutes to take the gloss off this win and also put a dent in the still-impressive goal difference for the title holders.
Cruising with a 3-0 lead heading into the final 14 minutes due to goals from Keith Fahey (his first in the league since his return home), Conan Byrne and Ian Bermingham, a 10-man Pats dropped their concentration levels to allow the Students nick two goals, though UCD's second - a fine strike from Robbie Benson - was practically the last kick of the game and afforded UCD no time to try for another.
The opening half was almost relentless Pats pressure, with Saints keeper Brendan Clarke a virtual spectator for most of the half. There was a groan from the home support on 17 minutes when Fahey fired wide when he had the goal at his mercy, having been set up by a storming run from midfield by Christopher Forrester.
It could really have been 3-0 by then as UCD's impressive keeper Conor O'Donnell had pulled off two saves, to deny Fahey and Forrester.
On 21 minutes Chris Fagan had his first chance to beat O'Donnell but his effort from Conor McCormack's cross was off-target.
Clarke's only moment of concern in the Saints goal came on 33 minutes, when a slack back-pass from Sean Hoare put Clarke under pressure from the alert Robbie Benson but the Saints keeper stood his ground.
But with seconds left until the break, Pats got the breakthrough, Fahey pouncing on a slip by Colm Crowe and sliding home his first league goal. That brought smiles to the home fans in the disappointing crowd of just 786 but there were anxious times to come, Pats reduced to ten men on 56 minutes when Greg Bolger earned an instant dismissal following a clash with Colm Crowe.
But those fears of a possible disaster ended on 68 minutes when Byrne made it 2-0 for the home side, finishing off a fine move involving Fahey and Forrester.
And Bermingham managed a third goal for the Saints in the 76th minute, a sublime finish from the defender after approach play by Killian Brennan.
But minds and bodies tired for the home side and Hugh Douglas nicked a goal back for College on 86 minutes while Benson's strike four minutes into injury time was the best of the night.