BOHEMIANS 1 DUNDALK 1
Bohemians edged a point closer to safety on Saturday night with a 92nd-minute equaliser from centre-half Neil Yadolahi, writes CILLIAN SHIELDS.
Dane Massey had earlier given Dundalk the lead with a fine header in the first half, but an electric Dalymount Park atmosphere inspired the Gypsies to the late comeback.
The home side, in great form of late, started well. A couple of set pieces showed intent but led to nothing. Ryan McEvoy made sure that Peter Cherrie was still concentrating in the Dundalk goal, however his shot went over the bar.
In the 18th minute, John Dillon delivered an inch-perfect pass over the heads of the Bohemian back four, and found the on rushing left-back Massey, who looped his header over stranded goalkeeper Dean Delany to give Stephen Kenny’s title hopefuls the lead.
Bohs looked to respond quickly, and minutes later were awarded a free-kick in dangerous territory. Karl Moore’s effort was unintentionally met by Lilywhite Sullivan, resulting in the ball narrowly going wide of his own goal and out for a Bohs corner.
Dundalk then began to assert themselves, clearly looking to make amends for their controversial but brave cup exit last week against rivals Drogheda United. Vinny Faherty had claims for a penalty and a great chance to double the lead before the half-time whistle came, but the score remained 1-0 going into the break.
Into the second half, Bohs were gifted one of the rarest of scoring opportunities. A lapse in concentration from Dundalk net-minder Cherrie saw him pick up a ball that was kicked back to him from one of his own defenders. Referee Paul Tuite pointed to the six-yard line for an indirect free-kick for the back-pass. The majority of the away side lined up on the goal-line, and McEvoy’s lay-off to Stephen Traynor only resulted in the shot being charged down and blocked.
Both sides stiffened up after this Dundalk let-off, leaving chances at a premium. One side was fighting to keep alive their title hopes, however slim they may have been with St Pat’s firmly in the driving seat, and the other battling for those last few points to ensure safety and top division status for next season.
With 13 minutes left on the clock, it looked like Dundalk’s title efforts would continue strongly for another week, while Bohs would have to wait to celebrate salvation. Luke Byrne’s tackle on John Mountney at the edge of the box was seen as a foul in the eyes of ref Tuite, and captain and former Bohs man Stephen O’Donnell stepped up to take the kick. His audacious attempted chip into the top left corner of the net went safely out of play for a Bohs goal-kick, much to the delight of the home fans.
The Gypsies knew they had been let off with the penalty miss and were spurred by the opportunity given to them to get back and earn something from this game. The players waged on in search of the goal, substitute Kevin Devaney stung Cherrie’s fingers as the keeper sent the ball out for a corner, which fellow substitute Darragh Reynor took. Young centre-half Neil Yadolahi met the cross perfectly and ended the Lilywhites’ title ambitions with his first goal for the Gypsies.
With Bray beating Limerick 1-0 on Sunday, focus now turns to the Seagulls’ visit to Dalymount this Friday. Pat Devlin’s men are now just five points behind Bohs and with two games remaining. A point for the Gypsies would be enough to avoid the dreaded play-off.
Bohemians: Delany; Pender, Lopes, Yadolahi, Byrne; Buckley (Mulligan, 60), Mulcahy (Reynor, 60), McEvoy, Moore; Traynor (Devaney, 79); Corcoran.
Dundalk: Cherrie; Rossiter, Gartland, Boyle, Massey; Mountney, Sullivan, O’Donnell, Dillon (McCaffrey, 60), Byrne (Murphy, 85), Faherty (Hoban, 88).
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).