DROGHEDA UNITED 2 – 2 BOHEMIANS
Bohemians earned a second valuable point in a row away from home in the Airtricity Premier Division, after a hard-fought 2-2 draw with in-form Drogheda United at a wet and windy Hunky Dorys Park. Bohs were twice behind, but showed great character with equalisers in each half from Dwayne Wilson and Ryan McEvoy.
Boss Aaron Callaghan made just one change from the side that heroically drew with St Pats on Monday night. Derek Pender came in for Conor O’Brien as Callaghan stuck with a 3-5-2 formation, writes KEVIN FAGAN.
Unfortunately for the visitors, they slept their way through the opening minute, and Drogheda were ahead in no time. After ex-Bohs man Gary O’Neill had forced a corner straight from the kick off, Ryan Brennan caught the Bohs defence napping by taking it quick and whipping in a devilish cross. Michael Daly rose to meet the ball at the height of his jump, giving Dean Delany no chance, stunning the travelling Bohs faithful.
A howling gale was blowing straight in Delany’s face in the first half and the Drogs were well on top, playing the kind of neat football that saw them finish a surprise 2nd in the league last year. Graham Rusk and Brennan both flashed shots across goal as Bohs struggled to get the ball down and play.
When the equaliser came, it was totally against the run of play. Michael Barker played the ball forward to the previously anonymous Dwayne Wilson who’s first touch took him past United defender Shane Grimes. Wilson then showed an incredible burst of pace and was suddenly through on goal. For a man who hadn’t yet scored this season, he showed remarkable composure to slide a neat, right-footed finish passed Gabriel Sava into the bottom corner.
The Drogheda response was immediate, and almost produced one of the goals of the season. Gary O’Neill may not be as nippy as he once was, but he showed incredible control to wrong foot Roberto Lopes. Just as it looked like he was about to let fly with a screamer – he stopped, checked and chipped Dean Delany – Cantona-esque, from 25 yards. The Bohs keeper could only watch as the ball sailed over him and cannoned off the cross bar, with Michael Barker completing a great clearance under pressure from Brennan.
Drogheda didn’t take long to reassert their dominance, and re-took the lead with another sloppy goal for Bohs to concede. Paul O’Conor’s header was tamely parried back into the danger zone by Dean Delany and O’Conor himself followed up to restore the home side’s lead. Although it was from close range, Delany might well be disappointed that he didn’t keep the rebound out – as it rather squirmed under his body.
Aided by the wind, Bohs started the 2nd half much brighter – and were level within just 6 minutes. Chris Lyons came short, and sent an ambitious ball ahead of Andy Mulligan down the left. Many players would have given up on the pass, but Mulligan’s lightning pace allowed him to amazingly reach it – before getting to the by-line and pulling it back. The ball ricocheted off two Drogheda defenders before falling on a plate for Ryan McEvoy who buried past Sava from 12 yards.
Again, Drogheda reacted smartly to being pegged back. The impressive Ryan Brennan did well down the left and fired a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. It fell to Gary O’Neill just two yards out with the goal at his mercy – but he inexplicably skewed it over the bar when scoring would have been easier.
You almost felt that Bohs would get a chance to win it, and that chance came on 75 minutes. Wilson’s pace caused Drogheda problems all night, and again took him clear down the right side. He clipped a lovely ball that sailed over Chris Lyons head but found Andy Mulligan unmarked in acres of space, just 15 yards out. If ever a player panicked with the result as his feet, it was then. Mulligan lost his footing, and fell flat on his face. He was in so much space that he even had time to pick himself up, jink around the on-rushing Sava before firing a shot disappointingly high and wide.
The home side searched for a winner but couldn’t find a way past a steadfast Bohs defence marshalled well once again by new cult hero Dave Mulcahy. That’s two welcome away points for the Gypsies, with the 3rd of a travelling trilogy to come against UCD on Tuesday.
Drogheda United: Gabriel Sava, Derek Prendergast, Alan McNally, Shane Grimes, Brian Gannon, Graham Rusk (Declan “Fabio” O’Brien, 74), Paul O’Conor (Eric Foley, 64), Michael Daly, David Cassidy, Gavin Brennan, Gary O’Neill (Peter Hynes, 86). Subs not used: Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Cathal Brady, Michael Schlingermann
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Roberto Lopes, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Michael Barker, Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Ryan McEvoy, Andy Mulligan, Dwayne Wilson (Kevin O’Leary, 86), Chris Lyons (Kevin Devaney, 90). Subs not used: Greg Murray, Ciaran Nangle, Owen Heary, Shane Murray, Stephen Traynor.
Bohs Man of the Match: Dwayne Wilson