Friday 6th July 2007, 9:48 pm
6th July 2007
Drogheda United 1
Aidan O'Keefe 90 + 3
Drogheda United left it late but climbed top of the eircom League of Ireland tonight after a 1-0 win over UCD at Belfield Park.
A lacklustre first half had seen Drogheda create marginally the better chances although UCD were far from outplayed in what was at times a midfield tussle.
Derek Doyle had an early shot saved as the Students looked lively on the break.
Sami Ristila has been in good form recently for the Drogs and with the club's injury problems has emerged as a regular in recent weeks. The Finnish striker had Drogheda's best chances of the first half.
He headed into Matt Gregg's side netting after only seven minutes following a typically swift Drogheda move. He would later test the College keeper with a powerful low driven free kick and tried an audacious back heel at goal just before the break.
Gregg however was well positioned for both of those efforts and watched on as former Bohs team-mate James Keddy just couldn't climb high enough at the back post.
The half's only other action of note saw Paul Crowley fire over before picking up a booking.
Drogheda boss Paul Doolin had substitute O'Keefe ready for action from as early as five minutes into the second half - although he had to wait until after the hour to replace Eamon Zayed.
Drogheda might have had the lead before that but Stuart Byrne slid the ball wide after surging into the area and on to a Zayed flick.
UCD's Paul Byrne was in the wars then and required plenty of treatment after an apparent elbow which saw Graham Gartland booked.
Shane Robinson then went close as the final fifteen minutes arrived and UCD's attacks faded. The Drogs winger slipped the ball narrowly wide after being played in by Ristila.
UCD were slowing everything down as a point seemed more and more possible. However, their goal somehow survived when Robinson drilled in a low shot which rebounded back into play off the base of the post.
UCD eventually fell foul of their spoiling tactics when Crowley picked up his second booking of the night on 85 minutes as Drogheda attempted to take a quick free kick.
With ten men, still UCD resisted as Gartland headed just off target before Pete Mahon was incensed by Drogheda's refusal to return the ball after Gregg had put it out of play as Ronan Finn limped off.
Nothing came from that attack anyway but Drogheda went on to snatch their winner in the third minute of three added by referee Dave McKeon.
After Tony Grant's initial shot had been blocked, O'Keefe somehow got the vital touch to flick past the stranded Gregg and snatch top spot in the League of Ireland.
UCD Gregg, Mahon, Kenna, McNally, McDonnell, Crowley, Finn (O'Sullivan 90), McFaul (Shortall 84), Doyle, P Byrne, Sammon (Purcell 61).
Drogheda United : Connor, Shelley, Gray, Gartland, Tambouras, Byrne, Whelan (Keegan 84), Keddy, Robinson, Ristila (Grant 84), Zayed (O'Keefe 61).