High-flying Gypsies up to second

BOHEMIANS 2 LONGFORD TOWN 0

Bohs continued their excellent start to the season with a comprehensive win over Longford Town at Dalymount Park. Both teams were well acquainted with one another after Tuesday’s EA Sports Cup encounter, which saw Bohs triumph 3-1.

The game had a high tempo start which saw three stoppages for injuries in the first 15 minutes. Willie Tyrell and Dean Delany both recovered from their knocks but ex-Bohs player Stephen Rice was forced off with concussion.

The first real chance of the game resulted in the opening goal. A corner from Lorcan Fitzgerald was fizzed into the back post and Dean Kelly was lurking to power home a header past Paul Hunt in the Longford net.

Soon after Kelly was again found at the back post but his shot went wide, although the offside flag had been raised. The other notable action of the first half was when Gary Shaw was booked for simulation in the 40th minute.

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At half-time the Bohs under-19 squad, who recently were crowed Northern Elite League champions, were paraded on the pitch and presented with their medals from a successful season by club president Matt Devaney.

The second half was dominated by Bohs. Kelly was played through on the left wing and it appeared as though he was in an excellent position to shoot for goal however he opted to dink a cross to the back post where ‘keeper Hunt palmed the ball away.

Longford then had their first meaningful chance of the game. Kaleem Simon slipped Davy O’Sullivan through on goal, albeit at a tight angle, and his shot was brilliantly saved by Dean Delany as it appeared to be heading for the top corner.

Adam Evans replaced Karl Moore and the youngster had an immediate impact. Kelly sprinted towards goal on the right flank and played a perfectly weighted ball to the back post where Evans applied a calm and collective finish to place the ball into the corner with his first touch of the game.

Even with a two-goal lead, Bohs continued to attack relentlessly. Kelly blocked a clearance from Hunt and the ball went agonisingly close to rolling into the empty goal. Soon after Evans played a neat pass to Fitzgerald in the box and his cross was cleared by the Longford defence.

The final chance of the game was for James O’Brien who picked the ball up forty yards from goal and unleashed a half volley which almost found its way into the bottom corner.

Victory saw the Gypsies jump two places up to second in the table behind champions Dundalk. Next up for Bohs is a Dublin Derby when Bohs host St Patricks Athletic at Dalymount Park next Friday evening.

TOP MARCS FOR 10-MAN BOHS

DROGHEDA UNITED 0 BOHEMIANS 1

Bohemians continue to upset the odds as they came away with all three points after a dramatic game at United Park that saw Derek Prendergast dismissed early on,  a penalty save from Dean Delany and then an 87th-minute winning goal from Louth man Marc Griffin.

The game started off openly with both sides looking to attack. Adam Evans was causing the Drogheda rearguard problems on the left wing with a combination of some good tackling and bad touches stopping him making more of the opportunities.

Drogheda then looked to have Daryl Kavanagh through on goal from a long ball but Prendergast bundled Kavanagh over on the edge of the box with the resulting free amounting to nothing.

Soon after though there was the first of a few tough refereeing decisions. Kavanagh was again played through on the right and it appeared as though Lorcan Fitzgerald scythed him down.

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Referee Paul McLaughlin, however, adjudged that Prendergast had made the tackle and consequently he was shown a second yellow card much to the fury of the away bench and travelling supporters.

Bohs didn’t let this set back curtail their attacking threat though as Keith Buckley attempted a half-volley from 40 yards out.

Right on half-time, Drogheda were awarded a penalty. A ball over the defence was controlled by Stephen Maher and Maher and Anto Murphy both went over in the box. To the disbelief of the Bohs players and the large Bohs contingent, the linesman flagged for a penalty. This was in spite of Maher appearing to control the ball with his hand initially and then falling over.

However, Delany brilliantly saved Kavanagh’s spot-kick, which was struck to his right and the sides went in level at the break.

Bohs grew into the game in the second half despite their numerical disadvantage. First Robbie Creevy went agonisingly close with a header and then Anto Murphy tried a Juan Mata-esque scissor kick but alas that was closer to troubling the graveyard behind the ground rather than Schlingermann in the Drogheda goal.

Soon after, Dean Kelly was played trough on the right and his goal bound effort was cleared off the line.

Drogheda then stepped up the pressure although without causing too many problems for the Bohs defence. This pressure almost paid off for Drogheda in the 86th minute. A ball into the box was punched clear by Delany but only to the edge of the box and Lee Duffy’s lob was cleared onto the crossbar by Fitzgerald and unbelievably Kavanagh blasted the rebound over the bar.

Straight after, Griffin – a league winner with Dundalk last season – sent the away end into pandemonium.

He was played through on the right and fired the ball past Schlingermann at his near hand post and sparked scenes of jubilation amongst the travelling Gypsies. After a few anxious minutes the final whistle went and Bohs secured the three points.

Next up for fourth-placed Bohs is the double visit of Longford Town to Dalymount Park next week. Keith Long’s side face The Town on Tuesday in the EA Sports Cup and then again on Friday in the league.

BOHS DEFENCE IS BEST IN SHOW

SHAMROCK ROVERS  0 – 0  BOHEMIANS

Debutant Stephen Best and goalkeeper Dean Delany produced a stellar performance as Bohemians kept out bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers following a drab Dublin derby in Tallaght on Friday night. The raucous crowd kept the passion going, but there was little in the way of quality attacking from either side in front of close to 4,000 fans.

Bohs boss Keith Long will undoubtedly be the happier manager as his charges achieved a fourth clean sheet in five games, and kept a Rovers side with big-name internationals at bay for most of the contest. It’s now almost three years since the Gypsies lost a league game at the home of the Hoops, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Long made just one enforced change from Tuesday night’s frustrating encounter with Dundalk. 18 year-old Best came in for the suspended Anto Murphy, and put in a performance that showed an amazing level of maturity and composure from such a young man. Although Rovers manager Pat Fenlon predictably started with just one striker, Best and Derek Prendergast kept in-form Mikey Drennan very quiet all night.

As is customary with these derby matches, the game was played at a helter-skelter pace. Bohs had the better of the possession in the first half, but could create little in the way of chances. There seemed to be a slight panic in the play from both sides, with a ‘nothing silly’ option being taken 90 per cent of the time. This was an understandable position for Bohs, but Fenlon’s Hoops were particularly poor. Keith Fahey and Stephen McPhail may have 28 international caps between them, but they were outfought and out-battled by Roberto Lopes and Robbie Creevy in midfield. Lopes was particularly good breaking up Rovers play, and was ridiculously booked for a pinpoint tackle on Sean O’Connor.

Unfortunately, Bohs’ only half-chance came just before the break. Derek Pender’s cross bounced off Adam Evans and fell kindly for Dean Kelly, but the striker’s volley was well blocked by David Webster. At the other end, Rovers’ only effort on target in the first half came from a late Conor Kenna header, but it was comfortable for Delany.

Rovers were clearly given an earful from Fenlon at the break, as they came out much more composed in the second period. The Bohs backline held firm, with Best outstanding. The youngster was commanding in the air, controlled in possession, and positioned himself like an old pro.

The game was trundling toward a chance-less disappointment, but a flurry of late action brought the best out of Delany, and further irked the naturally belligerent Rovers faithful. The Hoops improved greatly with the introduction of Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters and the considerable bulk of Danny North, and with twelve minutes to go, Waters crossed for Ryan Brennan, whose header was brilliantly clawed away by Delany.

Then, in the 81st minute, an almighty scramble in the Bohs box followed a corner. Delany saved low to his left from North, and the defence somehow got the ball clear when Rovers looked certain to score rebounds on two occasions. Their final chance came in injury time, when Waters’ back post cross found Drennan, but his header looped agonizingly onto the top of the bar, and out for a goal kick. The Bohs manager’s clenched-fist celebrations after the game said it all – this was a hard won point at a ground where most will be beaten this season.

Shamrock Rovers:  Craig Hyland, Simon Madden, Dave Webster, Conor Kenna, David O’Connor, Sean O’Connor (Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, 70), Pat Cregg, Stephen McPhail (Ryan Brennan, 60), Keith Fahey, Gary McCabe (Danny North, 84), Michael Drennan. Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Maxime Blanchard, Gavin Brennan, Gareth McCaffrey.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Stephen Best, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Paddy Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Robbie Creevy, Adam Evans (Karl Moore, 75), Keith Buckley (Kealan Dillon, 61) Dean Kelly (Jason Byrne, 79). Subs not used: Lee Steacy, Adam Wixted, Marc Griffin, Dylan Hayes.

BohemianFC.com Man of the Match: Stephen Best

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