UCD’s lead at the top of the First Division was cut to just two points as they fell to a surprise defeat to south Dublin rivals Cabinteely at Stradbrook Park on Friday night.
Early goals from former UCD midfielder Jack Watson and Luke Clucas saw Pat Devlin’s side to their fifth victory of the season.
Cabo were winless in two coming into the game while UCD, whose lead at the top was seven points at one stage, had hit a rocky patch of their own with just two wins in five.
UCD goalkeeper Carl Williams – starting his first game of the season after replacing the injured Conor Kearns during last week’s 3-0 win over Athlone Town – endured a difficult evening.
It was his mistake that led to Cabinteely’s 13th minute opener, as he took a wild swipe at the ball only for it to fall straight into the path of Watson.
The Wicklow man was left with the simple task of slotting the ball into the empty net to give the team in white and green an unexpected lead.
UCD looked to strike right back and last season’s top scorer, Georgie Kelly, had a chance to level right away but his curling effort creeped just past Stephen McGuinness’ post.
Any chance of a quick leveller dissipated after 20 minutes when another Williams mistake gifted Dean Casey the ball just outside the box.
The former Bohemians winger squared for Clucas – who made his first start in last week’s defeat to Galway United – to tap home his first senior goal.
Timmy Molloy shot wide for the Students just before the half hour but nothing was going right for Collie O’Neill’s side.
Cabo could have made it three just before the break when the previous week’s goalscorer Keith Dalton had a pop from distance, but the former Dundalk man’s shot whistled past the post.
Casey had a chance to add a third early in the second half but headed over, before Williams’ nightmare was compounded with a yellow card for taking down the winger outside his box.
Williams partially redeemed himself when a Conor Earley free kick looked destined for the top corner, only for the deputy netminder extended his arm to touch the ball over the bar.
UCD began to assert themselves in the final half hour as they looked to get back into the game but they found a resolute Cabo side in no mood to give up chances.
Liam Scales went close in the latter stages for UCD but his header lacked power and it was easily cleared off the line by the Cabinteely defence.
The Students will look to get back on track when they welcome Cobh Ramblers to the UCD Bowl on Friday night, while Cabo face a tough trip to in-form Drogheda United.