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Guthrie brace puts Pat's top

a Shane Guthrie brace put St Pat's back on the top of the Premier Division table with a 2-1 win over UCD at Richmond Park last night.

The game sparked into life in the 17th minute as St Pat's took the lead thanks to centre-back Guthrie's header.

Brian Cash's corner took a nick off UCD defender Ciaran Nangle, goalkeeper Billy Brennan dived from his line but didn't connect, and Guthrie was unchallenged as he stooped to head home as the ball skipped up off the wet surface.

However, the Students equalised six minutes later. Graham Rusk coolly slid the ball across to the unmarked Chris Mulhall, who placed his low shot into the bottom corner of the net, despite the best efforts of Gary Rogers.

The Saints then had a penalty shout turned down -- referee Neil Doyle not convinced that Paul O'Connor had handled Cash's cross.

The wet conditions coupled with the excellent pitch should have made for an entertaining game, but neither side was able to gain full control, with moves breaking down after five or six passes. UCD's Rusk then flashed a header just wide after 35 minutes.

The constant downpour became heavier as the second period struggled to ignite, with the majority of the 1,100-strong crowd wisely seeking shelter. UCD goalkeeper Brennan was forced into action in the 56th minute as he sprung to tip Cash's curling left-footed shot over the crossbar.

The next chance of the game was the work of two UCD subs. Keith Ward's quick free-kick found full-back Sean Harding, but his powerful right-footed shot from 30 yards fizzed just past Rogers' post.

The lively Ward was at the centre of his side's next attack, his inviting header across goal just evaded the touch of the in-rushing Ciaran Kilduff.

But then St Pat's nabbed the winner with nine minutes left. UCD failed to clear Derek Doyle's corner and, after a scramble, Guthrie rose to head over Brennan and into the top corner to send his side back to the top of the table -- for 48 hours at least.

That's three defeats in a row for UCD, who welcome Sligo to The Bowl on Tuesday, while Pat's travel to Dundalk next Sunday.