GYPSIES FOILED BY OLD FRIENDS

ST. PATRICK’S ATHLETIC  3 – 1  BOHEMIANS

A clinical brace from Christy Fagan and a top-class free kick from Killian Brennan brought Bohemians back down to earth after their Dundalk triumph. The former Gypsies starred in a convincing win for the Saints, who could easily have added to their tally as Bohs pushed on to claw the game back. Keith Long’s men had earlier equalised thanks to a thumping header from Derek Prendergast, but Pats were too strong, and leapfrogged their visitors into 4th place via a superior goal difference.

Long was forced into two changes from the team that had toppled Dundalk the last time out. Kealan Dillon started in place of Dave Mulcahy, while Dylan Hayes came in for Stephen Best, with Roberto Lopes moving one in to centre back. Without a league victory over Pats in five years, the Bohs fans travelled in numbers, but with trepidation that was well-founded, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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The opening minutes were scrappy, with neither side stringing many passes together. Izzy Akinade resumed up front for Bohs, and won a couple of early headers, but they fruitlessly landed at Pats’ defender’s feet. Referee Padraigh Sutton provoked the ire of the Bohs faithful when he booked Lorcan Fitzgerald for his first foul on Chris Forrester at the edge of the box. Killian Brennan’s free kick flashed just wide. Perennial pest and persistent fouler Greg Bolger escaped punishment, despite committing four fouls in the first 20 minutes.

Bohs had a penalty shout on 12 minutes, when a Dylan Hayes ball into the box reached Robbie Creevy. The midfielder went down under pressure from Sean Hoare, but it would have been a very soft call. Creevy was subsequently withdrawn with what looked like a groin injury, replaced by James O’Brien. Bohs’ injury list grows longer and longer – the mid season break might be coming at just the right time.

As is usual against St Pats, the old guard come back to haunt Bohs. Christy Fagan (no relation), is no stranger to goals against his old team, and delivered again in the 22nd minute. Forrester and Aaron Greene combined on the left before Greene dinked the ball in to Fagan with his back to goal. The resulting finish was superb, with the striker looping the ball back over his head into Dean Delany’s top corner.

Pats were ahead for just 10 minutes, and again it was Lorcan Fitzgerald who provided an assist. His whipped out-swinging corner was delivered perfectly onto the head of Derek Prendergast, who thumped a header from six yards. It may have gotten a touch on the way in, but that was fine by the Bohs fans in the Shed End who were ecstatic.

The Gypsies had a great chance to go into the break ahead. Akinade shrugged off both centre backs and put Adam Evans through, but the winger’s run drove him a bit wide, and the resulting shot was easily saved by Brendan Clarke.

Unfortunately for Bohs, that was about as good as it got, with Pats completely dominating the second half. Their lead goal was a cracker. Brennan’s corner was clipped to the edge of the box where Ian Bermingham let fly with a brilliant left-footed volley. The ball may well have been heading in, but Fagan made sure, flicking it into the top corner with his head from close range. The striker then continued his unnecessary habit of celebrating in front of the Bohs fans, who reacted with admirable restraint.

The final goal was the result of a contentions decision. Chris Forrester was allowed to prance through by Keith Buckley, and was brought down on the edge of the box with an incredibly minimal amount of contact. If Killian Brennan was practicing free kicks before the game, he’d place it in that exact spot. The ball was fizzed over the Bohs wall, and predictably nestled into the corner. Keith Long was brave in his substitutions, bringing Dean Kelly and Jason Byrne on for a defender and midfielder, but Bohs couldn’t find a way through. Indeed, Pats could easily have extended their lead with Aaron Greene, James Chambers, and Fagan all fluffling their lines in front of goal.

Bohs must now dust themselves down for a huge encounter with Shamrock Rovers on Friday. Get down early, they don’t come much bigger than this!

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien (Lee Desmond, 61), Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham, Greg Bolger, James Chambers, Killian Brennan, (Conor McCormack, 78), Chris Forrester, Aaron Greene, Christy Fagan (Jamie McGrath, 75). Subs not used: Conor O’Malley, Jason McGuinness, Morgan Langley, Ciaran Kilduff.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Dylan Hayes (Dean Kelly 69), Roberto Lopes, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Karl Moore (Jason Byrne, 75), Keith Buckley, Robbie Creevy (James O’Brien, 29), Kealan Dillon, Adam Evans, Ismahil Akinade. Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Jason Caffrey, Jake Hyland, Adam Wixted.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes

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