Bohs welcomed back a familiar face in the blue jerseys of Bray, with Keith Buckley making his first appearance against his beloved Gypsies. However, the midfielder was mostly anonymous as Bohs took hold of the game from the off, and produced a composed and controlling first half performance. Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran seem to have formed a nice link on their return, and they strung together the first move of the game with a neat one-two followed by a Ward power drive from 20 yards that Peter Cherrie had to acrobatically beat away.
Bohs dominated the middle part of the half with a string of corners, 6 in total peppering the Seagulls’ box. Dan Byrne went closest from a Fitzgerald corner, but the defender couldn’t scramble the ball home after Cherrie missed a punch. Set pieces were a friend to the home side in the first half, and Ward almost gave them the lead when his free kick crashed off the crossbar just before half time. The Jodi Stand crowd gave the Bohs players a hearty ovation on their way off, and Keith Long would have been happy with what he saw. Five minutes after the break, his side were inexplicably two down.
Bray’s first was courtesy of a sloppily-defended corner – their first of the game. Gary McCabe swung the ball in low from the far side, and it squirted all the way across to the back post where John Sullivan had the simple task of side-footing home from four yards. Bohs barely had time to catch their breath before the second came. A hopeful cross-field ball from Aaron Greene was misjudged badly by Derek Pender, leaving Dylan Connolly through on goal. The Bray winger showed why Dundalk pursued him all winter by finishing clinically past Supple, and suddenly, Bray were cruising.
The next goal was obviously going to be crucial, and it was a huge moment when Bohs struck, just 4 minutes after Bray’s second goal. If the game had been allowed to settle down at 0-2, you sense the atmosphere could have turned quiet and despondent in the crowd. As it was, Dinny Corcoran pounced with a goal quite similar to the one he scored on the opening night against Derry City. A ball forward from Jamie Doyle was headed into Corcoran’s path by Bray full back and Domhnall Gleeson lookalike Hugh Douglas. Dinny took his time, and sent Cherrie the wrong way with a rolled finish into the corner.
The home crowd kept behind the team, and the deserved equaliser arrived with 20 minutes left on the clock. This time Corcoran was the provider – squaring the ball to Keith Ward after a fast counter attack. Ward still had work to do 25 yards from goal, but his first touch was excellent out of his feet, and the shot went through Cherrie’s legs into the net. After that, the momentum was all with Bohs, and the winner felt like it was a probability rather than a hopeful possibility.
The fifth and final goal was a simple but effective move – with a long ball from defence flicked on perfectly by Jamie Doyle to set Corcoran through. The striker displayed icy coolness to stare down Cherrie again, and slot the ball into the opposite corner. Both of his strikes were composed finishes, almost trickled into the net with poise and finesse. A striker with those instincts can be worth his weight in gold – and Dinny produced the goods to deliver the points for Bohs tonight – just as he did so often in the 2012 season when he was the last Bohs player to hit 20+ goals in a single campaign.
The games come thick and fast at the start of the season, with the Bohs bus rolling into Limerick on Monday night before a home tie against Galway United on St Patrick’s Day.
Bohemian FC: Shane Supple, Derek Pender, Dan Byrne, Rob Cornwall, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Ian Morris, Georgie Poynton, Keith Ward (Philly Gannon, 61), Jamie Doyle, Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Greg Murray, Stephen Best, Kaleem Simon, Oscar Brennan, Dean Casey, Dylan Hayes.
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Tim Clancy, Kevin Lynch, Keith Buckley (Ryan Brennan, 83), John Sullivan, Aaron Greene (Karl Moore, 71), Gary McCabe (Jamie Ahearne, 85), Dylan Connolly, Anthony ‘Bisto’ Flood. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Marks, Mark Salmon, Derek Foran.
BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Dinny Corcoran