FINN Harps missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the First Division as Robbie Benson’s 64th minute goal gave UCD a narrow win at Belfield.
UCD 1 FINN HARPS 0
UCD were coming off the back of a 5-1 Europa League defeat at home to Slovan Bratislava on Thursday night, but Collie O’Neill’s side made sure that they remain one of the promotion favourites with this win over Harps.
Benson’s goal means that the Students are seven points adrift of Harps, but they’ve two games in hand.
It was a costly night for Harps with seven yellow cards handed their way, two of them to Thomas McMonagle, dismissed three minutes from the end and the Harps secretary, John Campbell, has indicated that four players will now be suspended at the same time in the coming weeks.
UCD had half chances for Mark Langtry and Jamie Doyle in the early exchanges that failed to trouble Ciaran Gallagher, but the Harps ‘keeper was called into action when he had to be at his best to save Benson’s free kick.
Doyle fired at Gallagher in the early stages of the second half and the Harps netminder was called into action soon after with UCD turning the screw.
Harps felt they should have had a penalty in the 58th minute when Raymond Foy tumbled to the floor inside the area. To the amazement of most of those in attendance, the referee, Andrew Mulally, booked Foy for diving and waved away Harps’ penalty appeals.
Soon after, UCD hit the front when Benson got on the end of Langtry’s cross to turn home.
Harps had their chances, but Ciaran Coll’s header was cleared by Maxi Kouogun, while Kevin McHugh (pictured above) nodded wide, but a night of frustration ended when McMonagle was red carded.
UCD: Niall Corbett; Mick Leahy, Tomas Boyle, Maxi Kouogun, Mark Langtry; Samir Belhout, Gary O’Neill, Robbie Benson, Dylan Watts, Jamie Doyle; Ryan Swan. Subs: Conor Mackey for Corbett, Conor Cannon for Watts (46 mins), Jack Watson for Belhout (73 mins).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey, Tommy McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Nathan Boyle, Raymond Foy, Tony McNamee, Gareth Harkin; Wilfried Tagbo, Kevin McHugh. Subs: Josh Mailey for P.Mailey (64 mins), Matthew Crossan for Tagbo (75 mins), Kieran McDaid for Harkin (85 mins)
Referee: Andrew Mullally.Tags: