ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 3 BOHEMIANS 1
Bohemians produced an improved performance from the poor display against Limerick last week but the result was the same as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat in Inchicore on Friday night, writes CONOR HAYES.
A great finish from Jason Byrne had given Bohs the lead but goals from former Bohs pair Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester sealed the win for the champions in front of President Michael D. Higgins and ensured a second defeat on the bounce for Owen Heary’s side.
Bohs made five changes from the game against Limerick with forward Byrne, captain Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy and Andy Mulligan coming into the side. Both sides began cautiously as the Bohs five-man midfield pressed their opponents into making mistakes in the initial stages.
Despite having the lion share of possession the champions did not look dangerous early on but did have the first shot in anger on eight minutes. Forrester was a threat roaming inside from the left-hand side and he found himself at the edge of the box after eight minutes but his looping effort went comfortably over the bar.
Craig Walsh looked to have been given the task of shackling Irish international Keith Fahey and he went about the task enthusiastically, ensuring the vaunted midfielder did not get a foothold in the game during the first half.
Bohs didn’t really threaten their opponents’ goal during this period but after 23 minutes they found themselves in the lead after a stunning strike from Byrne. A driving run from Walsh in midfield saw him pick out the lone striker, who had peeled off the last defender and from the edge of the area he produced an audacious chip over a stunned Brendan Clarke and into the net. A goal of instinctive brilliance.
The away side’s lead was to be short-lived, however, as Pat’s levelled just four minutes later. Ger O’Brien cross into the area was only half-cleared by Aidan Price, the ball rolled into the path of Fagan, who finished coolly into the corner.
The Richmond Park outfit were buoyed by their equaliser and dominated the rest of the first half, creating numerous chances. Conan Byrne was creating havoc down Bohs’ left side and twice his searching balls into the danger zone almost found Fagan who was lurking.
On 37 minutes, Fahey’s free-kick was floated into the area and picked out Fagan inside the six-yard box. His downward header looked destined for the goal but was superbly clawed away by Bohs net-minder Lee Murphy. Bohs were praying for the half-time whistle now and three minutes from the break they escaped conceding again as James Chambers headed over.
The visitors began the second half with more of a foothold in the game and had the chance to take an unlikely lead in the 49th minute as a Darragh Reynor free-kick found Price in space but he could only direct his header wide. Murphy then again showed his shot-stopping ability with a super save on to the post from a long range thunderbolt from Fagan.
Karl Moore had been summoned from the bench at half-time and at times looked dangerous on the left wing, after 57 minutes his cross was just deflected wide of Byrne, who was waiting to apply the finish.
Jason’s namesake Conan continued to be a menace to the Gypsies’ defence and his ball in on 64 minutes found Forrester three yards from goal but he somehow manged to blaze it over much to the glee of Bohemians supporters behind the goal.
Forrester’s embarrassment would not last, however, as barely a minute later, his side had the lead for the first time. Fahey, whose influence in the game continued to grow, found Conan Byrne with a perfect through ball, the winger then drilled a cross into the middle of the area which after a scramble found its way to Fagan who had his second of the night.
Bohs tried to respond and their chance came with 17 minutes remaining. Good work from Moore found Reynor, his pin-point swinging cross found Jason Byrne only a few yards from goal but he skewed his free header wide.
One felt Bohs would be punished for such profligacy and the killer goal duly arrived four minutes later. Fagan this time the provider as his pass fell to Forrester who skillfully beat two defenders in the box before sending Murphy the wrong way and finding the net.
The game fizzled out at this point with Pats clearly happy with their two goal advantage while the men playing in green couldn’t create a way back into the match.
So a disappointing night for Bohemians, they will try to bounce back and improve their home form against Sligo at 3pm on Easter Monday.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien (c) (Conor McCormack 81), Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham , Kenny Browne, James Chambers (Sam Verdon 89), Keith Fahey, Lee Lynch, Conan Byrne, Christopher Forrester, Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Derek Foran, Lorcan Fitzgearld, Peter Durrard, Daryl Kavanagh.
Bohemians: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Darragh Reynor, Keith Buckley (Paddy Kavanagh 77), Ryan McEvoy, Dave Mulcahy (c), Craig Walsh (Steven Beattie 62), Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore 45), Jason Byrne.
Subs not used: Gavin Moore, Dan Byrne, Jake Hyland Stephen Traynor.