Friday 15 December 2017

O'Brien double rescues point for 'tired' Drogheda

UCD 2 Drogheda United 2

DROGHEDA UNITED manager Mick Cooke admitted his team's punishing schedule of six games in 17 days caught up with them at a hot Belfield Bowl yesterday.

After soaring into an early lead through Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien, Drogs wilted against a spirited UCD side, who scored either side of the break through Dean Clarke and James Kavanagh to go ahead.

O'Brien's second, netted just a minute after they fell behind, earned the visitors a point.

The Louthmen conjured enough late chances to have claimed just their second win in 11 matches – yet poor finishing, and UCD goalkeeper Mark McGinley, undid them.

"The players showed great character to come from behind but I felt we should have won the game," said Cooke.

"The lads are tired after all the recent games, plus the travelling involved with our Europa League fixtures.

"We only got back from Sweden in the early hours of Friday after playing Malmo."

During an incident-packed game in front of just 253 supporters, O'Brien sprung the offside trap on 10 minutes to latch onto David Cassidy's pass and finished coolly from a tight angle. UCD, however, equalised against the run of play nine minutes later when Clarke availed of a botched defensive clearance to outmuscle Alan Byrne before drilling to the bottom corner.

When Gabriel Sava handled outside of the box 10 minutes into the second half, Robbie Creevy rolled the free-kick into the path of James Kavanagh 20 yards out to bury a shot beyond the Drogs goalkeeper.

O'Brien's 12th goal of the season had United back on terms instantly. McGinley advanced to clear the ball, only to see it ricochet off the striker and trickle over the line.

McGinley atoned in stoppage time by denying both Michael Daly and Gary O'Neill.

UCD – McGinley; Matthews, Kavanagh, Douglas, D O'Connor; Creevy (McCabe 81), Langtry, Belhout (Burke 69), Benson, Russell; Clarke.

Drogheda Utd – Sava; Daly, Grimes, Byrne, G Brennan; Cassidy, P O'Conor, O'Neill, R Brennan (Marks 83); Hynes (Rusk 62), O'Brien.

Ref – A Buttimer (Cork)

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