Derry City 0 UCD 0
A FRUSTRATED Derry City were held to a scoreless draw by UCD who clinched their first point on the road this season.
It was a seventh consecutive match unbeaten for the Candy Stripes and the point was enough to see the Brandywell outfit move back into fourth spot in the table.
However, despite a sluggish start the Foylesiders will be hugely disappointed not to take maximum points having twice struck the woodwork.
It was, nevertheless, a huge effort by the Dubliners as they moved above relegation rivals Finn Harps into ninth place give their superior goal difference.
Declan Devine had named two changes to the team which snatched a 2-2 draw against champions, Dundalk last weekend with Darren Cole and Conor Davis replacing the injured Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and skipper, Barry McNamee.
However, the City boss was forced to make a late replacement as ex-UCD striker, Davis sustained a groin injury during the warm-up with Gerardo Bruna starting in midfield.
UCD manager, Collie O’Neill went for the same team which started the 11-0 friendly mauling by League One outfit, Portsmouth 48 hours previously at the Bowl as Jack Keaney was handed his competitive debut following his recent signing from Sligo Rovers.
Derry made a sluggish start to the match as UCD bossed the ball and the students almost capitalised on a defensive error on four minutes but when Danu Kinsella Bishop squared the ball to Yousef Mahdy, the striker’s tame effort was easily gathered by Peter Cherrie.
Derry got in behind the UCD defence on 10 minutes when Harkin found the run of Parkhouse but the striker’s shot on the half volley was saved by the out-rushing, Conor Kearns as the students survived.
The home side really should’ve opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Parkhouse crossed dangerously across the face of goal and McDonagh, arriving in space at the back post somehow volleyed it wide of the target.
UCD debutante, Keaney tried his luck from a 30 yard free-kick and he wasn’t far as it narrowly missed the crossbar on 25 minutes.
Derry finally increased the tempo as half-time approached and following great work from McDonagh on the right side of the UCD penalty area, the winger crossed to Parkhouse and his towering header clipped the top of the crossbar.
Parkhouse lathed onto Darren Cole’s clearance but Kearns did well to come off his line and close the striker down. The ball fell to McDonagh who attempted an ambitious volley from 30 yards which sailed harmlessly over the bar.
For all of UCD’s possession they lacked a cutting edge in the final third while Derry will have been disappointed not to have taken a lead into the break.
There was more urgency to Derry’s play in the second half and UCD needed a vital interception to keep the match scoreless on 67 minutes.
McDonagh crossed first time across the face of the UCD goalmouth towards Aidy Delap who was free at the back post but Daniel Tobin flung himself at the ball to take it off the toe of the Derry substitute.
City began to turn the screw and Gilchrist swivelled inside the penalty area and shot low into the arms of Kearns.
Ciarn Coll drove his shot through a crowded penalty area and just wide of the far post.
McDonagh was causing all sorts of problems down the UCD right wing and when he got in behind Mark Dignam his cross was palmed onto the crossbar by Kearns before UCD scrambled away the danger.
Jason McClelland tried to catch Cherrie off guard from a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area with 10 minutes to go but he fired wide of the target,
The home side were growing increasingly frustrated and when McDonagh crossed invitingly from the right Parkhouse rose highest but headed straight at the keeper.
The fourth official signalled five minutes stoppage time as Derry pushed desperately for a winner.
And when Gilchrist crossed towards Delap on the penalty spot, the Donegal man headed wide of the target.
McDonagh then got in behind the UCD defence in the final minute of stoppage time and flashed a shot across the goal and wide of the far post as Derry had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Derry City: P. Cherrie: D. Cole, E. Toal, A. Gilchrist, C. Coll; J. McDonagh, G. Sloggett, C. Harkin (E. Stokes 72), D. McCauley (A. Delap 60); C. Davis; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used – N. Gartside, M. McChrystal, G. Bruna, E. Tweed, J. Malone.
UCD: C. Kearns; D. Tobin, H. McEvoy, E. Farrell; M. Dignam, R. O’Farrell, J. Keaney, P. Doyle; Y. Mahdy (D. Mullen 95) J. McClelland; D. Kinsella Bishop (D. Keane 64) ; Subs Not Used – T. Murphy,J. Ryan, L. Boore, I. Akinsete, A. McGrath.
Referee – John McLoughlin.