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10th defeat on the bounce for UCD, as Toner seals Saints' victory

The former Aston Villa defender scored his second goal of the season tonight.

St Patrick’s Athletic’s Kevin Toner celebrates scoring.
St Patrick’s Athletic’s Kevin Toner celebrates scoring.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

UCD 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 1

Dave Donnelly reports from the Belfield Bowl

A FIRST-HALF header from Kevin Toner — his second goal of the season — brought up defeat number 10 on the bounce for UCD and kept St Patrick’s Athletic’s hunt for a European place on track.

The former Aston Villa centre-half found the net with an unstoppable header just past the half hour, as the Saints made their set-piece dominance count against a bare-bones UCD side.

There was little to separate the sides in general play early on as UCD, despite the loss of influential captain Gary O’Neill and Ireland U21 winger Neil Farrugia, kept a tight rein on possession.

The Athletic looked increasingly dangerous from set-pieces, with the magic left foot of Mikey Drennan inducing panic stations every time he lined the ball up inside the final third.

Drennan picked out a run from Ian Bermingham, which the UCD defenders failed to track, and he lobbed it back into Jake Walker, but the young striker couldn’t quite keep his header down.

Another pinpoint delivery from Drennan to Walker forced Conor Kearns into an uncertain-looking punch and, although UCD survived on that occasion, the vulnerability had been exposed.

The Students threatened on the break when Pat’s committed numbers and, though Conor Davis couldn’t quite pick out Yoyo Mahdy with a through ball, they too had identified an area to exploit.

Sean McDonald should have done better when Davis cut in following another swift counter but, despite space to pick his spot, he thrashed at his effort and curled well over.

The Saints changed things up, as Chris Forrester lined up a corner, but the effect was the same as a deep delivery aimed at Walker was just about turned wide by new captain Liam Scales.

From the resulting corner, however, Drennan picked out Toner at the back post and the burly centre-half’s bullet header may well have burst a hole in the net had it not already been full of holes.

The tempo became increasingly frenetic and Pat’s could have had a second, as Jamie Lennon’s perfectly-placed ball sent Bermingham clean through and he forced a fine stop at his near post.

It took until the 63rd minute for UCD to register their first shot on target as a nice run from defence by Mark Dignam and a flick from Mahdy set up Davis, but his shot on the turn was easily saved.

Despite physically dominating their opponents, Pat’s never truly looked like killing the game off, but a deflated College equally lacked the spark to fashion an equaliser.

UCD: Kearns; Farrell, Scales, Dignam; O’Farrell, McGrath, McDonald (Boore 81), Doyle, McClelland; Davis, Mahdy (Kinsella Bishop 84).

St Patrick’s Athletic: Clarke; Toner, Desmond, Kelly; Madden, Lennon, Coleman (Clifford 74), Forrester (Markey 81), Bermingham; Walker (Shaw 72), Drennan.

Referee: Ray Matthews.

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Dave Donnelly

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