The Saints' faithful may have felt like Christmas came early as two Mark McGinley errors gifted the league leaders a three one win on over Martin Russell’s UCD in Belfield.
The Students opened the scoring mid way through the first half as playmaker Robbie Benson slotted home.
That lead evaporated on the half hour mark with a quick fire double from first Chris Forrester and then Anto Flood handed Pats the lead.
Pats extended their lead ten minutes into the second half when Jake Kelly hammered home from outside the area to give Saints a comfortable win in the end.
The title chasers were in the ascendancy early on and nearly made that pay off eight minutes in as a scrappy piece of play in midfield allowed the ball get in behind the students’ defence.
John Russell latched onto the ball and attempted to loop the ball over Mark McGinley. It beat the keeper But just drifted inches over the crossbar. Good opening though.
Flood also had a chance to open the scoring but he headed straight at McGinley after a mazing run and cross from Byrne had found him.
The home side grew into the game though and took a surprise lead midway through the first half. Robbie Creevy got onto the ball halfway inside the visitors territory before sliding a pinpoint pass in behind the defence.
His namesake Benson was on the other end of the pass and after a neat first touch he curled the ball beautifully around Brendan Clarke for a shock lead.
In the 30th minute, Saints were level. Jake Kelly was in possession on the left, he squared it to Forrester and with nothing else on he decided to have a go himself.
His shot deflected off a Students defender, taking the pace off it before it got to McGinley. The keeper momentarily took his eyes off the ball and that cost him. He parried it into the net to draw Pats level with what was a poor judgement by the young keeper.
Three minutes later, Pats were in front. Forrester again was causing problems for the UCD rear guard. He picked the ball up around half way and ran at the retreating defenders.
On approaching the box, a gap opened up for him to slide in Flood who finished the job with a clinical strike.
It should of been three five minutes before the half. Russell slid the ball through to Bermingham down the left. He took a couple of touches before crossing to Kelly, but his volley was too high to trouble McGinley on this occasion.
The Saints had another chance moments later as Forrester waltzed unopposed through the UCD defence but his shot went inches wide of McGinley’s post with the keeper struggling to get there had it been inside the sticks.
After the break it remained all Saints. Just past the fifty minute mark, neat play from Kelly found Byrne in space down the right and he broke into the area. He flashed the ball goal ward but Flood could not latch onto it and the chance went a begging.
Pats eventually doubled their lead moments later though. Flood showed good strength inside the area to hold the ball up before laying it back for Kelly to smash home from outside the D, giving McGinley no chance while sending the visiting support wild.
Pats seemed happy to protect their two goal advantage and the best chance UCD could muster for a while was a shot from substitute James Kavanagh that floated timidly over the bar.
Kelly could have added a fourth as he broke clear of the Students’ defence. The ex-Bray man smashed the ball to the left of McGinley but it was at a good height for the stopper and he tipped it over the bar well.
UCD may have pulled one back with fifteen minutes left, a cross from substitute Sean Coyne was flapped at by Clarke and it fell to fellow replacement Samir Belhout. His shot was low but Clarke got down well to tip it around the post.
Saints’ substitute Lorcan Fitzgerald should probably have grabbed himself a goal late on. Christy Fagan laid the ball off to him at the edge of the area and unopposed he managed to send the ball high into the Belfield sky.
That was the last chance though at the Saints go marching ever closer towards the Airtricity League title. UCD on the other hand should feel relatively safe with three games remaining.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Michael Kelly (Sean Coyne 72), Michael Leahy, Hugh Douglas, David O’Connor; Barry McCabe (James Kavangh 66), Robbie Creevy (Samir Belhout 62); Robbie Benson, Craig Walsh, Sean Russell; Dean Clarke
Subs not used: Conor O’Donnell (GK), Tom O’Halloran, Colm Crowe, Gary Burke.
St Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Conor Kenna, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Greg Bolger (Shane McFaul 80), John Russell, Chris Forrester; Conan Byrne, Anto Flood (Christy Fagan 72), Jake Kelly (Lorcan Fitzgerald 85)
Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin (GK), Sean Gannon, Philip Hughes, Aidan Price
Booked: Bermingham (78)
Referee: Paul Tuite
Extratime.ie man of the match: John Russell (St Patricks Athletic).