DROGHEDA UNITED 1 – 0 BOHEMIANS
Wins are becoming dangerously hard to come by for Owen Heary’s Bohemians as they fell to a fifth defeat of the season at Hunky Dorys Park in Drogheda. Numerous good chances were squandered on a night where Jason Byrne’s golden touch failed him, and the travelling fans showed their disapproval at a run that has seen the Gypsies win just one of their last 12 league games, writes KEVIN FAGAN.
Boss Heary has spoken about Bohs’ luck turning soon, but that Lady had no interest in the men in green as Drogheda stole the points with their only real half-opening of the 90 minutes. In contrast, Bohs could have had 5. Karl Moore missed two sitters, Byrne had three great opportunities for a predator like him, and countless other attacks broke down disappointingly in the final third.
Heary made two changes to the team that drew with UCD last Friday. Aidan Price returned for the suspended Roberto Lopes, while Anto Murphy made a welcome return to the side – he replaced Kevin Devaney and operated from the right flank. Karl Moore operated from the left – which gave Paddy Kavanagh the opportunity to roam in the hole behind Jason Byrne. This formation almost opened the door for Bohs in the 3rd minute, as Murphy’s clipped pass broke the Drogs offside trap and bounced kindly for Kavanagh. His headed pass across goal took United keeper Dave Ryan out of the equation, but Karl Moore’s bouncing shot was cleared off the line by Daire Doyle.
Drogheda’s only other opening bar their goal came just a minute after that Moore chance. Dano Byrne and Dean Delany left the ball to each other, and Cathal Brady capitalized to turn a half chance into a speculative effort that clonked off the opposite post. However, as the first half wore on, it became increasingly obvious that Drogheda were grossly out of confidence – this was a team who had lost 6 straight games remember. Bohs were dominating possession without creating much, but still should have gone into the break ahead. A Moore corner was nodded down by Dano Byrne, and his namesake Jason preposterously fired the ball into the housing estate behind Ryan’s goal.
Heary clearly sensed that this game was there for the taking, and Bohs noticeably upped the pace at the start of the second half. Mulcahy was in particularly good knick, performing trademark bull-charging runs to start attacks. Kavanagh was pulling the strings, and created another opening for Moore, who’s shot was again poorly struck and allowed Ryan to save. Moore turned provider and whipped in a lovely cross for Jason Byrne who headed just over. The record-chaser’s third and final chance was the killer; an inch-perfect whipped cross from Kavanagh found him just 8 yards out and unmarked, but his downward header was too straight and saved by Ryan’s legs. To the neutral, it looked like a matter of time before Bohs took the lead, but among seasoned followers, knowing glances were shared – we would be made to rue these missed chances.
Bohs had looked relatively solid in defence, but a wild mistake proved to be their undoing. Steven Beattie is not a full back, so was perhaps never taught that famous schoolboy mantra of ‘never pass the ball across your own goal’. Alas, he did just that, catching Price and Darragh Reynor off guard. Carl Walshe pounced on the loose ball, and fired a crisp shot low into the bottom corner. Against the run of play, but they all count. Sadly for Bohs, it seemed they had used up all of their chances, and nothing clear cut materialised in the last 10 minutes. Next up is a daunting trip to Tallaght, hardly a sanctuary for teams in desperate need of three points.
Drogheda United: Dave Ryan, Michael Daly, Ciaran McGuigan, Daire Doyle, Shane Grimes, Cathal Brady (Declan O’Brien 12), Eric Foley, Paul Crowley, Gavan Holohan, Carl Walshe, Gary O’Neill. Subs not used: Dylan Connolly, Paul Andrews, Philly Hughes, Dominic Mahon, Sean O’Connor, Roy Kierans.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Steven Beattie, Aidan Price, Dan Byrne, Derek Pender (Darragh Reynor 21), Anto Murphy (Kevin Devaney 72), Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy (Craig Walsh 80), Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh, Jason Byrne. Subs not used: Gavin Moore, Eoin Wearan, Stephen Traynor. Jake Hyland.