UCD booked their place in the second round of the EA Sports Cup with a 1-0 victory over Athlone Town in the Bowl on Tuesday night. Dwayne Wilson scored the only goal in the 72nd minute, in a game that stuttered along and failed to create many chances with only one goal needed to decide it.
Athlone were always going to struggle away from home against the Students and the sight of the team driver hunched under the hood of their team bus before kick-off suggested that the trip to the capital hadn't been the smoothest.
Whatever the reason, the Midlanders were
not at their best and were reduced to pushing men up for set pieces. They still went closest early on, Stephen Place heading over in the third minute.
UCD started much brighter and Keith Ward was unlucky to be booked for diving in the first ten minutes. He then was unlucky not to open the scoring in the 17th minute just pulling his snap shot past the left-hand post. Chris Mulhall then tried his luck for UCD with a crisp shot from outside the box, but he again pushed it wide.
Mulhall was at the centre of most of the Students attacking prowess, sliding a nice ball through for Sean Houston but his touch let him down and then again, just before half time, pulling back a ball from the by- line for Paul Corry to fire wide.
The second half started with a chance of sorts for Athlone, Brian McCarthy heading over from another long free-kick. Ward, who had been one of UCD's main threats from the left then hobbled off injured and was replaced by the eventual goalscorer, Wilson.
Mulhall was instrumental again in the build-up, slipping in a through ball to Wilson, who shrugged off Mark Nolan and fired low across the goal into the far right corner.
Wilson's goal seemed to be enough for the Students, and it was, although a late chance could have changed all that. Another whipped-in free kick in the 82nd minute was met by Place, but his header crashed against the crossbar and took what seemed to be an eternity to be cleared from the goal line.
So, a comfortable victory for UCD in the end, they go onto face Shamrock Rovers in the second round.
UCD: Barron, Harding, O'Connor, Kelly, Leahy, Fallon, Corry, Mulhall, Houston, Fitzgerald, Ward (Wilson '54).
Subs not used: Roche, Doyle, Russell, McGinley
Booked: Ward '10, Leahy '82
Athlone Town: Schlingerman, Nolan, O'Shea, Hope, McCarthy, Scullion (O'Hanlon '71), Dunne (Kenna '61), Watson (McGee '46), Benson, Williamson, Place.
Subs not used: Farrell, Bennion.
Booked: Nolan '55.
Extratime Man of the Match: Chris Mulhall.
Referee: Phil Caschera.
Conor McKeogh began reporting for Extratime in 2010. Born down the road from Stamford Bridge and now living in Dublin, Conor reports on the South Dublin Clubs and can be reached at email@example.com