UCD traveled to Athlone for the latest of their SSE Airtricity League of Ireland First Division matches against Athlone Town on Friday. The visitors came back from a first half deficit to beat out their hosts 4-2.
Athlone got the game underway first in a closely fought first half. After UCD’s Harry McEvoy was shown yellow in the first five minutes, Jack Reynolds put the ball in the back of the net in the stroke of 20 minutes.
Both side would look to gain the upper hand for the remainder of the half, however a mixture of good defence and poor finishing kept both sides from scoring again in the first half.
The second half started in similar fashion to how the first half finished, with neither side able to break through each others’ defences. Athlone’s John Morgan and UCD’s Jack Keaney were each shown yellow before the game started to liven up again.
Evan Weir evened the scores up again for the Students with just under an hour on the clock. Paul Doyle’s yellow card did not hinder the Students, as Yousef Mahdy slotted the first of his goals in the 63rd minute to take the lead for the visitors for the first time in the match.
Just five minutes later, Colm Whelan added to his already impressive goal tally for the season, taking the Students to 3-1 up. Athlone got one back though almost immediately, through the boot of Ronan Manning to reduce the hosts’ deficit back down to one.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Mahdy sealed the game for the visitors with his second goal. The Students clung to their 4-2 lead well for the remainder of the game, never really allowing Athlone an opportunity to fight their way back into it.
This win brings UCD back into the top 4 of the league table, three points behind Longford Town, and nine points behind league leaders, Bray. The Students will now face Cabinteely on Friday at the Bowl in their penultimate match of the regular season.
Stephen Kisbey-Green – Co-Editor