Late winner from Mahdy breaks Cobh Ramblers’ resistance
YOYO Mahdy bagged an 87th-minute winner at Belfield last night to inflict a second defeat on the bounce for Cobh Ramblers in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
The Leesiders had looked set to hold out for a hard-earned point, only for UCD to break their resistance in a frantic finale.
Despite falling to a 2-0 home reversal against Drogheda United last Saturday, Ramblers boss Stuart Ashton resisted the urge to make wholesale changes for his side’s first away test of 2020. The sole alteration to the starting 11 saw Bryan Murphy deputising for Cian Leonard in attack.
While Lee Devitt was sent-off in St Colman’s Park six days earlier, his suspension was rescinded in time for him to line out for a second week running. Relegated from the top-flight at the end of a turbulent 2019 campaign, UCD marked their return to the second tier with a 1-1 draw away to Wexford on the opening weekend.
Following a positive performance on the Slaneyside, Students supremo Andy Myler kept faith with the same side for the visit of Cobh.
The hosts were agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute, the crossbar coming to the aid of Ramblers following a thumping long-range drive by UCD full-back Evan Weir.
Ramblers had been confident on the ball prior to this let-off and posed significant problems for the UCD defence as the action developed. Davitt picked out Ian Turner with an incisive delivery on 12 minutes, the Wilton native’s subsequent header drifting inches wide.
UCD custodian Lorcan Healy was also forced to turn away a deceptive Kevin Taylor cross as Cobh sought to ramp up the pressure. Although the overlapping Michael Gallagher was causing danger on the right flank, Paul Hunt and the Ramblers back four were dealing comfortably with UCD’s surges.
There was a sense that it would need something special to kick the game fully into life. Neither side was lacking endeavour with Taylor and Weir probing to impressive effect at both ends of the pitch.
With the tie still delicately poised on the hour, Ashton opted to introduce fresh blood to his attack as Devitt made way for Cameron Harlson, a graduate of Cobh’s academy system.
He was later joined by Cian Leonard, who assumed lone striker duties.
They appeared odds-on to earn an encouraging result until disaster struck in the last moments. Hunt couldn’t contain an awkward delivery into the area and UCD winger Mahdy was on hand to nod home from close range.
UCD: Lorcan Healy; Michael Gallagher (Mark Dignam 71), Josh Collins, Luke Boore, Evan Weir; Evan Farrell, Jack Keaney; Yoyo Mahdy, Paul Doyle, Liam Kerrigan (Sean McDonald 87); Colm Whelan (Harry McEvoy 91).
COBH RAMBLERS: Paul Hunt; Dylan Walsh, Charlie Lyons, Ben O’Riordan, Kevin Taylor; Pierce Phillips, Martin Coughlin (Adam Foley 82), David Hurley; Ian Turner, Bryan Murphy (Cian Leonard 71), Lee Devitt (Cameron Harlson 61).
Referee: Gavin Colfer (Wicklow).