UCD A.F.C. were held to a 0-0 draw by Bray Wanderers
In a game where both sides maintained their unbeaten starts to the season, the Students squandered an opportunity to move to the top of the First Division table at the UCD Bowl on Friday evening.
The Students dominated the game for long periods but lacked the necessary cutting edge to take all three points as neither side was able to carve out clear-cut chances.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start with Bray forward Ryan Graydon, who was their main attacking threat all evening, flashing a low shot just wide of the near post after eight minutes.
After soaking up the early Bray attacks, UCD began to take control of proceedings around the 20- minute mark. Colm Whelan looked to have given the home side the lead and opened his account for the season as he fired the ball past Bray keeper Brian Maher from close range, however, his celebrations were cut short by the offside flag of the linesman.
UCD stayed on top for the rest of the half but failed to worry the Bray defence, as a speculative volley by Sean Brennan from outside the box was the closest the Students came to breaking the deadlock.
UCD continued their momentum after the break and saw two penalty claims turned down in the opening ten minutes of the half. Liam Kerrigan showed great tenacity to maraud his way into the Bray box but claims for a spot-kick were turned away as he was tackled by two Wanderers defenders five minutes after the restart.
Three minutes later Evan Weir found himself in behind the Bray defence and looked to have been cut down from behind before he could get a shot away, but once again referee Kevin O’Sullivan remained unmoved amid furious protests from the UCD players and bench.
After a chaotic start to the second half, the game settled with UCD still on the front foot, but the students would fail to threaten the Wanderers goal for the rest of the evening.
Bray almost took the lead against the run of play after 70 minutes, as a long ball from keeper Maher into the heart of the UCD defence found Joe Doyle but Lorcan Healy was quick off his line to get a vital touch and deny the Wanderers substitute. Graydon thought he was fouled on the edge of the box while trying to pick up the second ball, but referee O’Sullivan opted to let the game flow and the Students were eventually able to clear their lines.
Both sides pushed for a winner but neither could create a clear opening to take home the spoils. Kerrigan forced a routine save from Maher with six minutes to go but there was to be no late drama in a game where both defences came out on top.
UCD dictated the game for large spells and will feel hard done by not to have been awarded a penalty but a lack of ideas in the final third means that the Students remain winless at home this season.
The result sees UCD drop to third in the table as the Students failed to find the net for the first time in 11 games in a run stretching back to September 2020.
Andy Meyler’s men welcome Cabinteely to the UCD Bowl next Friday while Bray Wanderers, who remain in sixth after drawing each of their opening three games host league leaders Athlone Town on the same day.