ZAYED HEAD SAVES BIT O’RED

BOHEMIANS  2 – 2  SLIGO ROVERS

Johnny Logan couldn’t have picked a better night to come and watch his beloved Bohemians, as the home side and Sligo Rovers dished up one if the most entertaining games seen in Dalymount Park this year. Four goals, a red card, and a plethora of missed chances ended with the teams taking a share of the spoils. Owen Heary will be disappointed after being 2-1 ahead late on, especially with other results going Bohs’ way (a win would have propelled his side).

While he may be grossly unpopular with the Bohs support, Eamon Zayed continues to do what he does best in the League of Ireland – score important goals. His late header cancelled out Steven Beattie’s lead goal – Paul O’Conor and Dinny Corcoran had traded strikes in the first half. Aidan Price’s late red card would have left a sour taste in Owen Heary’s mouth, but a point might just be invaluable in the race for a top half finish, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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An end-of-season malaise can often seep through these mid-table games, but this certainly wasn’t the case as both sides attacked from the off. Bohs’ orthodox 4-4-2 clashed nicely with Sligo’s 4-2-3-1, producing an open game and some genuine entertainment for the Dalymount crowd of 1,093.

The Dalymount pitch is definitely starting to struggle under the combined weight of games, the weather, and Bohs’ training sessions. The result was a surface that lent itself to errors – and the returning Anto Murphy was punished for his in the 24th minute. His sloppy forward pass was cut out and fed to Eamon Zayed, whose cushioned pass found Paul O’Conor on the edge of the box. O’Conor skipped over Roberto Lopes’ challenge before toe poking past Dean Delany.

The opener was against the run of play, and Bohs deservedly equalised through a familiar source five minutes later. Karl Moore’s corner was headed only as far as Keith Buckley on the edge of the box. Bucko’s scuffed shot bounced toward Dinny Corcoran at the back post, and the striker steered in his 19th goal of the season to bring the sides level. Corcoran will be searching for a tremendous tally of 20 goals in the last two games, which would be an excellent return for the Donabate man.

The second half started at a high pace. Dinny should have given Bohs the lead after he got on the end of a Steven Beattie cross, but somehow skewed the ball over from 6 yards under pressure from Gavin Peers. Bohs kept attacking, and deservedly got the lead goal through the excellent Beattie. Keith Buckley (credited with an impressive two assists tonight), picked up a loose clearance, and drove at the Sligo defence. His slide-rule pass was gathered at-a-stretch by Beattie, who managed to get the ball out of his feet just in time – firing high into the net before being clattered by Evan McMillan. Amazingly, it was Beattie’s first league goal of the season, which is a surprising stat for someone who has been one of the Gypsies outstanding performers in 2014.

Sligo were Champions as recently as 2012, and they’ve still got real quality in the squad, despite naming only 4 substitutes for this game. The familiar figure of Rafaelle Cretaro spurned a good chance when he fired into the Shopping Centre from 12 yards, but he had the last laugh by setting up the late equaliser. Jack Memery struggled with the Tobercurry Tornado all night, and Cretaro’s whipped cross in the 81st minute was perfect. It found the head of Eamon Zayed who headed powerfully past Dean Delany. The ball came off the underside of the bar, but was clearly over the line as it dropped.

There was still time for late drama as Aidan Price controversially saw red in injury time. Danny North nudged the ball by him and was running toward goal when Price took him out, but the dismissal was harsh. North, with all due respect, was not going to catch the ball – so technically it wasn’t quite a goalscoring opportunity. Sean Grant thought otherwise, and reached for the back pocket. Price will miss next week’s trip to Cork, meaning Owen Heary will have a defender problem with Derek Pender also out. If Bohs get a result next week, they will almost certainly hand the title to Dundalk. With recent Bohs form against Cork in his mind, John Caulfield won’t be looking forward to it.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Jack Memery, Keith Buckley, Karl Moore (Adam Evans, 86), Eoin Wearen, Steven Beattie, Jason Byrne (Paddy Kavanagh, 68), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Aaron Shanahan; Ryan McEvoy, Jake Hyland, Craig Walsh, Stephen Best.

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush, Gary Boylan, Gavin Peers, Evan McMillan, Danny Ledwith, Raffaele Cretaro, Seamus Conneely, Paul O’Conor, Gary Armstrong (Ruairi Keating, 71), Danny North, Eamon Zayed. Subs not used: Kalen Spillane, Ross Taheny, Ryan McManus.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Steven Beattie

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