A second-half wonder goal from UCD’s Georgie Kelly along with headed effort from a Jason McClelland was enough to give the Students a 2-0 victory against winless Wexford FC at the UCD Bowl on Friday evening.
On a beautiful Dublin evening it was the visitors who had the game’s first opportunity after UCD attempted to pass the ball around at the back, goalkeeper Niall Corbet’s clearance was stolen by Conor Sutton, whose low cross was half cleared before Eoin Porter blazed over from the edge of the box.
As the host began to grow into the game they had two excellent opportunities to break the deadlock after quarter of an hour. First Kelly forced an excellent save from Cory Chambers after the forward headed a McClelland free-kick towards goal.
From the resulting corner Chambers was once again called into action after the visitors failed to clear possession, the ball fell to Daire O’Connor, whose effort pushed to safety by the Wexford shot-stopper.
As UCD continued to press forward for the game’s opening goal, both skipper Gary O’Neill and top scorer Kelly failed to trouble the visiting goal, O’Neill’s tame effort was easily claimed by Chambers before Kelly’s headed effort sailing high and wide.
Five minutes before the break, the side’s exchanged excellent opportunities. First Owen McCormack rose highest to meet a Mark Slater corner, but his headed effort at the back post was excellently saved by Corbet before the Student broke on the counter attack and McClelland picked out Kelly with a sublime cross. However, the UCD hitman failed to trouble the goal from close range.
Moments later, Kelly went close once again, this time his attempted bicycle kick sailed the wrong side of Chambers goal.
With second-half chances limited early on, Wexford will feel they should have done better after some excellent play from Danny Doyle, who sailed past Maxi Kouogun down the right before sending a low cross into the box, however, Slater failed to connect before the chance was squandered.
UCD’s first chance of the half arrived on the hour mark when McClelland’s shot from outside the box, but his effort harmlessly wide. Despite McClelland’s miss, UCD broke the deadlock four minutes later when O’Connor picked out Kelly with a sublime cross and the forward made no mistake with his bicycle kick from 10 yards.
As Wexford continued to look for a way back into the game, Adam Hanlon was unlucky not to see his corner sail into the top corner after Corbet produced a sublime fingertip save.
UCD sealed the victory two minutes later when Daire O’Connor skipped past the Wexford full-back before finding McClelland whose powerful header from close range sailed into the top corner.
Despite late efforts from Andy O’Connor, Thomas Cooke and Liam Donnelly the Students help out for an important victory which sees them leapfrog Cobh Ramblers into second-place in the SSE Airtricity League First Division, one point behind leaders Waterford FC.
UCD AFC: Niall Corbet; Daniel Tobin, Liam Scales, Maxi Kouogun, Evan Osam; Daire O’Connor, Greg Sloggett, Gary O’Neill (Sean Byrne87’), Jason McClelland; Ben Hanrahan (Robert Manley 79’), Georgie Kelly.
Subs Not Used: Conor Kearns, Josh Collins, Sean Coyne, Cian Kavanagh, Gareth Coughlan.
Wexford FC: Cory Chamber; Andy O’Connor, Ross Kenny, Owen McCormack, Conor Sutton, Sean Hurley (Ricky Fox 63’); Adam Hanlon (Liam Donnelly 77’), Shane Dunne, Mark Slater; Eoin Porter (Thomas Crooke 74’), Danny Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Graham Doyle,, Dean George, Lee Duffy.
Booked: Shane Dunne (34’), Conor Sutton (51’)
Referee: Alan Carey
Man of the Match: Georgie Kelly (UCD AFC)
Attendance: 205 (estimate)