An 88th-minute Mark Quigley penalty broke the hearts of the travelling Wexford Youths fans in an enthralling, action-packed game at Dalymount Park.
Both sides were going into tonight’s SSE Airtricity league clash with just three points from their opening three league games between them. Keith Long’s troops were looking to bounce back from their disappointing 3-0 derby defeat on Monday night to St. Pat’s, whereas the visitors were desperate to get their first points on the board having lost all three league games so far this campaign, including tough games against Shamrock Rovers and reigning champions Dundalk.
After a frantic start to the game, the visitors found themselves in dream land with just nine minutes on the clock after Anto Murphy miscontrolled a pass from left-back Lorcan Fitzgerald, allowing Wexford Youths front man Paul Murphy to steal possession. He found himself one on one with the onrushing Dean Delaney, who hauled him down. The penalty was confidently dispatched by Daniel Furlong, who sent the keeper the wrong way.
But Bohs responded almost immediately when a delightful cross from the left wing found Mark Quigley in the box. He made no mistake brilliantly placing the header in the bottom corner.
Some more slack defending led to the Wexford Youths taking the lead again on 20 minutes. A long throw from Craig McCabe was hurled into the box. It looked like it got a nick of a defender’s head and the unmarked Chris Kenny nodded home. The Bohs fans and players screamed angrily for an offside call but the linesman kept the flag down.
With some a very nervy defending from the Bohs backline, including a number of unforced errors, unhappy home boss Keith Long wasted no time in changing things. He replaced Derek Prendergast with Dan Byrne at the heart of the defence with just 34 minutes on the clock. The change brought about a bit more stability at the back as Bohs began chasing the equaliser.
Both sides then missed glorious chances to add to their tallies. First, Bohs hitman Quigley slipped a lovely through ball to strike partner Kurtis Byrne who managed to drag his shot just wide. This was followed a few minutes later by Youths frontman Furlong volleying just wide with only Delany to beat.
As half-time approached, the home fans were treated to a wonder strike from right winger Paddy Kavanagh, which evened things up. The Bohs wide man whipped a fierce shot from 25 yards out from the right wing into the far corner, leaving Graham Doyle with no chance. 2–2 at half time. A pretty impressive and hectic first half from both teams who, prior to tonight, had only managed one goal each in their previous three games.
The Gypsies started the second half much the better side with the tricky Aymen Ben Mohammed taking on all comers with a couple of exceptional runs that struck fear into the opposition defence. The talented winger drew a crunching tackle from Craig McCabe who caught him high around the midriff. He was shown a yellow but on another day he could have seen red. It was soon becoming “The Ben” show as the wide man was at the centre of everything good for the home side and looking the most likely to create something.
Bohs were really turning the screw now, desperately seeking the goal their second half play deserved but the away side continued to work impressively hard to keep Bohs at bay, while also looking dangerous on the counter. Furlong was a constant threat over the top all night.
Disaster struck for Bohs with just 10 minutes remaining, when another long ball into the box resulted in an almighty scramble. Chaos ensued and keeper Delaney looked to have been fouled from an attempted overhead kick of Chris Kenny but referee James McKell kept the whistle from his mouth and giant defender Gary Delaney rose highest to head into the empty net.
Facing the prospect of losing their second game in five days, the home fans despair turned to joy when in the 88th minute, midfielder Roberto Lopes was clipped in the box by Danny Ledwith after nipping just in front of him to collect a low cross. Quigley confidently stepped up, kept his cool and put the penalty high to the keepers right hand side.Youths keeper Graham Doyle will feel a bit unlucky as he got hands to it, pushing it in off the post, but the pace and accuracy was too much.
Bohs boss, Long, will be happy with how his side showed a dogged, determined and never say die attitude to rescue a point right at the death, having found themselves behind on three separate occasions. There is no doubt some work to be done on the training ground to cut out the errors at the back but if they continue to show this passion, the players, staff and fans could be in for an exciting season. The Gypsies will be hoping to get back to winning ways starting with a home tie against Longford Town in the EA Sports Cup this coming Tuesday.
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Derek Prendergast (Dan Byrne 34), Lorcan Fitzgerald; Paddy Kavanagh (Jake Kelly 78), Dave Mulcahy, Roberto Lopes, Ayman Ben Mohamed (Adam Evans 90+2); Kurtis Byrne, Mark Quigley.
Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace, Ryan Delaney; Aidan Friel, Jonny Bonner (Craig Wall 87), Chris Kenny (Stephen Last 90+2), Eric Molloy (Danny Ledwith 57); Danny Furlong, Paul Murphy.
Referee: James McKell (Tipperary).