SAINTS HALT GYPSIES’ MOMENTUM

BOHEMIANS  0 – 1 ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

A solitary, scruffy goal from Ciaran Kilduff was enough to bring a buoyant Bohemians back down to earth as the Inchicore side ground out a difficult 1-0 victory in Dalymount Park. The Phibsboro venue saw its largest crowd of the season so far, but the home fans went home disappointed as Keith Long’s high flyers struggled to impose themselves on Liam Buckley’s men.

Indeed, if it wasn’t for the heroics of Dean Delany in goal, Pats could have ran out more comfortable winners. Delany saved his second penalty in three league games, but the Bohs fans’ delight at seeing Killian Brennan fluff his lines was replaced by frustration at the final whistle. However, the rousing reception the team got as they walked off the pitch shows that the home faithful are extremely appreciative of the hard work being put in by Long’s men, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The Bohs boss made just one change from the team that beat Longford Town last week, with Derek Prendergast returning in place of the injured Robbie Creevy. This released Roberto Lopes further forward into the midfield, and brought back the first choice back four that have served Bohs so well so far this season. However, the Gypsies struggled in possession against a disciplined and talented Pats midfield. Bohs disappointingly gave the ball away with a series of long balls early on. Dean Kelly was isolated, and Pats’ defensive duo Sean Hoare and Kenny Browne didn’t have much to contend with.

After a sedate opening half hour, the game exploded into life. First, Bohs’ big chance arrived. As has been the case often this season, Lorcan Fitzgerald’s cultured left boot created the opening. His whipped outswinging cross was perfectly judged over the head of the first defender, but somehow, both Dean Kelly and Derek Prendergast couldn’t get a touch onto it. Any deflection would surely have given the Gypsies the lead, but instead, Pats went right up the other end and scored.

Chris Forrester played a delicious through ball between Fitzgerald and Prendergast to Conan Byrne. Dean Delany came out and made a brilliant one-handed save, but the ball squirmed through to Ciaran Kilduff, who had the simplest of tasks to tap into an empty net from six yards. It was only the second game in which Bohs have conceded in their first 8, but it proved to be a crucial goal.

Bohs were undoubtedly improved in the second half. The play was quicker, the pressing was higher, and the energy was there for all to see. Unfortunately, chances were at a premium. Keith Buckley put in a deep cross to Kelly, but the ball was just too far above the striker’s head. The introduction of Dave Mulcahy added some much needed steel to the Bohs midfield, but it was Pats who had a great opportunity just a minute after Mulcahy’s arrival.

Ian Bermingham’s deep cross was mis-read by the Bohs defence, and Lorcan Fitzgerald mis-controlled the ball into Ciaran Kilduff’s path. Fitzgerald tried to make up for the error, but only managed to bring the Pats striker down illegally on the penalty spot. Referee Graham Kelly pointed at said spot, and it looked like Killian Brennan was going to shut the door on Bohs. However, his penalty was casual in the extreme, and was easily saved by Delany to his right.

It felt as if a set piece might be Bohs’ best chance of a goal, and so it proved. Again, Fitzgerald provided the cross, and again, it evaded everyone. Prendergast was merely inches from the ball, but it wasn’t to be. Bohs now travel to struggling Sligo Rovers on Monday, and a date with Owen Heary.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (Dave Mulcahy, 76), Karl Moore (Adam Evans 52), Keith Buckley (Jason Byrne, 72), Dean Kelly. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, James O’Brien, Stephen Best, Marc Griffin.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Conor O’Malley, Ger O’Brien, Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Conor McCormack, 90 + 1), Greg Bolger, Aaron Greene, Chris Forrester (James Chambers, 74), Ciaran Kilduff. Subs not used: Brendan Clarke, Jason McGuinness, Jack Bayly, Sam Verdon, Morgan Langley.

High-flying Gypsies up to second

BOHEMIANS 2 LONGFORD TOWN 0

Bohs continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive win over Longford Town at Dalymount Park. Both teams were well acquainted with one another after Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup encounter, which saw Bohs triumph 3-1.

The game had a high tempo start which saw three stoppages for injuries in the first 15 minutes. Willie Tyrell and Dean Delany both recovered from their knocks but ex-Bohs player Stephen Rice was forced off with concussion.

The first real chance of the game resulted in the opening goal. A corner from Lorcan Fitzgerald was fizzed into the back post and Dean Kelly was lurking to power home a header past Paul Hunt in the Longford net.

Soon after Kelly was again found at the back post but his shot went wide, although the offside flag had been raised. The other notable action of the first half was when Gary Shaw was booked for simulation in the 40th minute.

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At half-time the Bohs under-19 squad, who recently were crowed Northern Elite League champions, were paraded on the pitch and presented with their medals from a successful season by club president Matt Devaney.

The second half was dominated by Bohs. Kelly was played through on the left wing and it appeared as though he was in an excellent position to shoot for goal however he opted to dink a cross to the back post where ‘keeper Hunt palmed the ball away.

Longford then had their first meaningful chance of the game. Kaleem Simon slipped Davy O’Sullivan through on goal, albeit at a tight angle, and his shot was brilliantly saved by Dean Delany as it appeared to be heading for the top corner.

Adam Evans replaced Karl Moore and the youngster had an immediate impact. Kelly sprinted towards goal on the right flank and played a perfectly weighted ball to the back post where Evans applied a calm and collective finish to place the ball into the corner with his first touch of the game.

Even with a two-goal lead, Bohs continued to attack relentlessly. Kelly blocked a clearance from Hunt and the ball went agonisingly close to rolling into the empty goal. Soon after Evans played a neat pass to Fitzgerald in the box and his cross was cleared by the Longford defence.

The final chance of the game was for James O’Brien who picked the ball up forty yards from goal and unleashed a half volley which almost found its way into the bottom corner.

Victory saw the Gypsies jump two places up to second in the table behind champions Dundalk. Next up for Bohs is a Dublin Derby when Bohs host St Patricks Athletic at Dalymount Park next Friday evening.

TOP MARCS FOR 10-MAN BOHS

DROGHEDA UNITED 0 BOHEMIANS 1

Bohemians continue to upset the odds as they came away with all three points after a dramatic game at United Park that saw Derek Prendergast dismissed early on,  a penalty save from Dean Delany and then an 87th-minute winning goal from Louth man Marc Griffin.

The game started off openly with both sides looking to attack. Adam Evans was causing the Drogheda rearguard problems on the left wing with a combination of some good tackling and bad touches stopping him making more of the opportunities.

Drogheda then looked to have Daryl Kavanagh through on goal from a long ball but Prendergast bundled Kavanagh over on the edge of the box with the resulting free amounting to nothing.

Soon after though there was the first of a few tough refereeing decisions. Kavanagh was again played through on the right and it appeared as though Lorcan Fitzgerald scythed him down.

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Referee Paul McLaughlin, however, adjudged that Prendergast had made the tackle and consequently he was shown a second yellow card much to the fury of the away bench and travelling supporters.

Bohs didn’t let this set back curtail their attacking threat though as Keith Buckley attempted a half-volley from 40 yards out.

Right on half-time, Drogheda were awarded a penalty. A ball over the defence was controlled by Stephen Maher and Maher and Anto Murphy both went over in the box. To the disbelief of the Bohs players and the large Bohs contingent, the linesman flagged for a penalty. This was in spite of Maher appearing to control the ball with his hand initially and then falling over.

However, Delany brilliantly saved Kavanagh’s spot-kick, which was struck to his right and the sides went in level at the break.

Bohs grew into the game in the second half despite their numerical disadvantage. First Robbie Creevy went agonisingly close with a header and then Anto Murphy tried a Juan Mata-esque scissor kick but alas that was closer to troubling the graveyard behind the ground rather than Schlingermann in the Drogheda goal.

Soon after, Dean Kelly was played trough on the right and his goal bound effort was cleared off the line.

Drogheda then stepped up the pressure although without causing too many problems for the Bohs defence. This pressure almost paid off for Drogheda in the 86th minute. A ball into the box was punched clear by Delany but only to the edge of the box and Lee Duffy’s lob was cleared onto the crossbar by Fitzgerald and unbelievably Kavanagh blasted the rebound over the bar.

Straight after, Griffin – a league winner with Dundalk last season – sent the away end into pandemonium.

He was played through on the right and fired the ball past Schlingermann at his near hand post and sparked scenes of jubilation amongst the travelling Gypsies. After a few anxious minutes the final whistle went and Bohs secured the three points.

Next up for fourth-placed Bohs is the double visit of Longford Town to Dalymount Park next week. Keith Long’s side face The Town on Tuesday in the EA Sports Cup and then again on Friday in the league.

Website by Simon Alcock