CANDY CRUSH

DERRY CITY 4-0 BOHEMIANS Derry City 4-0 Bohemians

Bohemians fell to their first defeat in seven matches as they were completely outclassed by a slick Derry City outfit at the Brandywell on Friday night. A brace each from Michael Duffy and Rory Patterson did the damage as the Gypsies suffered their heaviest reversal of the season, writes CONOR HAYES.

Owen Heary’s side showed defensive frailties to an extent not witnessed thus far this campaign, especially away from home. After their improvement since the mid-season break, they will have to hope it was just a momentary blip with a cup semi-final to come on Monday against Shamrock Rovers.

Bohs actually started the encounter brightly, reflecting their recent good run of results. With barely five minutes gone, a header from Kevin Devaney put Steven Beattie in space, his early ball was inches from finding an unmarked Dinny Corcoran but was stabbed away just in time by Candystripes skipper Barry Molloy.

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Again five minutes later, Beattie and Devaney were involved in good build-up for the away side. This time Beattie set up the former Sligo man with a lovely ball over the top, his low cross from the right cannoned off Molloy and into the body of Gerard Doherty who knew nothing about it. But that would be as good as it got for the visitors in the first half.

The red tide began with a chance for Stephen Dooley who latched on to Patrick McEleney’s floating ball at the back post but scuffed his shot wide. Then, with 18 minutes elapsed a hopeful punt by Doherty was nodded on by McEleney into the path Duffy, who fired past Dean Delany but not past past Aidan Price who covered well on the line.

McEleney was causing havoc in the Bohs backline and the former Sunderland trainee put through Paterson again moments later. His shot deflected off Price and behind for a corner with Delany beaten. From the resulting corner Derry got their first of the game. A high hanging ball to the back post was weakly punched away by the Gypsies’ net minder, it fell to Patterson, who ten yards from goal made no mistake.

The Candystripes would double their lead just before the half-hour mark. This time Barry McNamee ghosted past the non-existent Bohs midfield and laid the ball on beautifully for Duffy, who calmly slotted it past Delany and into the bottom right corner.

The game then entered a lull as Derry seemed satisfied with their lead with the away side unable to create an opening but just before the men playing in green could get to the sanctuary of half-time there was another red and white goal. Some nice play by Mark Timlin saw his pass nutmeg Derek Pender and find Duffy. Again the 20-year-old was calmness personified as he cut inside the box and fired it into the opposite corner to his first.

Bohemians looked more resolute defensively at the beginning of the second half but they only looked liked getting a consolation from a set-play. First Anto Murphy fired over from just inside of the box after Doherty only half cleared a Paddy Kavangh free kick. Next, the winger, playing against his old side, delivered a corner to the far post where Price could only direct his header onto the roof of the net and over. Eoin Wearen too had a chance in the air from another corner but steered it directly to Doherty.

With just over 20 minutes left in play, Derry drifting through the second half, began another onslaught. The impressive McNamme found substitute Philip Lowry on the edge of the area and  instead of shooting, he selflessly found Patterson in acres of room at the back post who finished powerfully to secure his brace.

As the game entered its final stages the chances kept coming for Derry. First Duffy stretched but was inches from his hat-trick as Dooley’s shot was almost parried into his path by Delany. Next, Barry Molloy marauding from the back failed to slip the ball past the Bohs shot stopper after bring put through by McNamee.

Despite their best efforts, Derry could not add to tally but they continue their revival under Peter Hutton with a one-sided victory. For Bohemians after a great run of recent results they fall back to earth with probably their worst performance of the season so far.

Next up is Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup semi-final on Monday at Dalymount. Only a vastly improved display will have a chance of toppling the old enemy and making the final.

Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Barry Molloy (c), Ryan McBride, Barry McNamee, Danny Ventre, Patrick McEleney (Philip Lowry 42), Rory Patterson (Ryan Curran 71), Michael Duffy, Mark Timlin, Stephen Dooley (Josh Tracey 76), Aaron Barry. Subs Not Used: Ciaran Gallacher (GK), Shane McEleney, Shaun Kelly, Cliff Byrne.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender (c), Aidan Price, Dan Bryne, Anto Murphy, Paddy Kavanagh, Eoin Wearen (Dave Mulcahy 73), Kevin Devaney, Stephen Beattie, Dinny Corcoran (Jason Byrne 61). Subs Not Used: Aaron Shanahan (GK), Jack Memery, Karl Moore, Ryan McEvoy, Keith Buckley.

DRAW ENSURES WEAR-EN THE TOP HALF

BOHEMIANS  1 – 1  ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC

Bohemians’ winless home streak continues, but Owen Heary will be more than happy with a confident performance against the Champions which saw the home side creep into the top half of the table. The Gypsies could easily have come away with all three points, and had the better chances against Warsaw-bound St Patrick’s Athletic.

Heary made just one change from the victorious Thomond Park side with Aidan Price replacing Jack Memery. That meant Anto Murphy returned to a more comfortable right back position, with captain Derek Pender moving to left full, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Any non-home-win nerves could have been settled within 4 minutes, with the first clear cut chance falling to Bohs. Lorcan Fitzgerald dithered for Pats, allowing Kevin Devaney to skip to the byline. His cutback just evaded Dinny Corcoran, but fell perfectly for Paddy Kavanagh 10 yards out. Kavanagh couldn’t control his shot however, skewing the effort badly over the bar.

Pats aren’t Champions for nothing, and duly punished the Gypsies with a fine opener in the 10th minute. Greg Bolger won the ball well before exchanging passes with Lee Lynch and then releasing Conan Byrne. Byrne’s delicious centre evaded price, and found Mark Quigley un-marked in front of goal. The curly-mopped striker made no mistake, and there was no denying the quality of the move. More football like that, and Pats might well threaten Polish champions Legia Warsaw on Wednesday.

Perhaps unsurprisingly with that game in mind, Pats were happy to sit back after their opener. Bohs were in charge of possession, prodding and probing to little effect. It’s an unfortunate stat that Bohs hadn’t scored at the Shopping Centre end in the league since August 2013 – so it was only fitting that the goal to break that hoodoo. A patient build-up eventually fell to the excellent Roberto Lopes, who fed Eoin Wearen on the edge of the box. Wearen jinked to the left, and curled a beauty into the top corner with his left boot. It was no more than the home side deserved.

Amazingly, the second half was just 15 seconds old when Dinny Corcoran missed a gilt-edged chance to put the home side ahead. Fitzgerald was again at fault, mis-hitting his backpass straight to Devaney, who stayed cool, and squared it to Corcoran. Unbelievably, from 7 yards with the keeper on the floor, Dinny skied his effort into the Des Kelly Stand.  All the threat was coming down the Bohs right, and Devaney was a real thorn in Pats’ side. He went on a mazy run beating three Pats defenders, but his left-footed effort went wide of Clarke’s post.

Liam Buckley introduced the league’s top scorer Christy Fagan to inject some impetus into the Pats attack, and the diminutive striker made an instant impact. His looping header was well saved by an off-balance Delany before the former Man Utd trainee had a goal ruled out on 80 minutes. Luckily for Bohs, he was a yard offside before he slotted home. Fittingly, the last chance fell for Bohs. Lopes won the ball yet again in the middle of the park and released Paddy Kavanagh who reversed it through to Wearen. Unfortunately for Bohs, he scuffed the shot into the ground and it was cleared for a corner.

6 games unbeaten in all competitions for Bohs, who travel to Sligo next week with a spring in their step. That home win is surely just around the corner.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Aidan Price, Dan Byrne, Derek Pender, Kevin Devaney (Craig Walsh, 78), Roberto Lopes, Eoin Wearen, Paddy Kavanagh, Steven Beattie, Dinny Corcoran (Jason Byrne, 83). Subs not used: Karl Moore, Gavin Moore, Jack Memery, Keith Buckley, Dave Mulcahy.

St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Kenny Browne, Ger O’Brien, Ken Oman, Chris Forrester (Christy Fagan, 67), James Chambers, Conan Byrne, Greg Bolger, Conor McCormack (Lee Lynch, 7), Mark Quigley. Subs not used: Rene Gilmartin, Derek Foran, Ian Bermingham, Daryl Kavanagh, Sam Verdon.

Mr Green.ie Man of the Match: Roberto Lopes

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

SKINNER FOILS BOHS’ PERFECT COMEBACK

BOHEMIANS  2 – 2  ATHLONE TOWN

Four goals, a red card, three penalty appeals, and one late missed penalty – but still Bohs are craving an elusive home league win with more than half the season gone. Paul Skinner’s 88th minute save from Dinny Corcoran’s spot kick was enough to earn the Midlanders a point after a spirited comeback saw the Gypsies come from 2-0 down early in the second half.

The only change from the team that thrashed Bray 5-0 before the break saw Kevin Devaney make way for the returning Steven Beattie, but it was one that almost backfired – Bohs were flat and lifeless until Devaney’s introduction. The substitute ignited the Bohs comeback and earned the Man of the Match Award with a blistering 40 minutes, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Like far too many of the league games at Dalymount this season, the home team were laboured and sluggish in the first period. Sticking with the attacking 4-4-2 formation that put Bray and Limerick to the sword, Heary set out his attacking intentions against the team that lost all 10 of their opening league games. However, movement was stifled by a hard-working three-man Athlone midfield, and Alan Byrne at the back seemed to be capable of dominating Dinny Corcoran and Steven Beattie in the air. Byrne was mopping up 99% of the disappointing long balls into the Athlone box, and Corcoran and Beattie cut frustrated figures.

Even against a dogged Town, it was a surprise when the opening goal came against the run of play. Athlone had barely ventured anywhere near Dean Delany when suddenly, a quick-fire break tore the Bohs defence open. Neat interplay between Kealan Dillon and Barry Clancy led to Clancy toe-poking the ball through to James O’Brien. Delany rushed out to close down the space, but O’Brien stayed cool and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Bohs almost replied instantly, but Keith Buckley’s dangerous cross flashed across the face of goal and wide.

The second half couldn’t have started worse for Bohs, and in particular for Jack Memery. The left back was making his first appearance since a nightmare against Shamrock Rovers, and was completely culpable for the Athlone second, which arrived just a minute after the break. Memery dawdled on a long punt, allowing it to bounce high before attempting a hooked clearance. Sean Brennan blocked down the Memery clearance, and was suddenly bearing through on the right flank. His cross was identical to Buckley’s, and Philip Gorman hit the post sliding in at the back. However, the rebound fell straight to James O’Brien, who grabbed his second to send the small band of travelling support wild. Remember, Athlone had won a single point from 8 away games before last night.

Heary’s response was immediate. Kevin Devaney replaced Buckley on the right, and the effect was immediate. He showed a pace and power that Buckley lacked, and immediately turned the Athlone defence toward their own goal. It took just three minutes for him to grab Bohs’ first. He started a run from about thirty yards out, beat two Athlone defenders, and was suddenly in on goal. His left footed shot was somewhat scuffed, but squirmed underneath Paul Skinner and into the net.

Cue referee Paul McLaughlin’s entry into the affair. Bohs’ first penalty appeal was 50-50 as Prendergast and Beattie clashed. McLaughlin ruled that Prendergast got a touch on the ball, but Beattie, the Bohs bench, and the Jodi Stand were incensed. The second appeal was much more clear cut. A Memery cross bounced up at Alan Byrne, who dipped his arm and clearly made contact. with his bicep. Again, McLaughlin was having none of it, to the Bohs fans chagrin.

The equaliser came with more than enough time to get a winner. 77 minutes had gone when Anto Murphy’s looped header entered the box. Alan Byrne, immaculate all evening, missed his clearance, allowing Dinny Corcoran with a free shot from 6 yards. Dinny notched his 12th goal of the season, and surely there was only one winner from here? The third and final penalty claim proved to be the one – this time it was Neil Harney who hand-balled, in a similar fashion to Byrne just minutes earlier. McLaughlin was still in no mood to give it, but the linesman flagged, and Bohs had the chance to finally win a league game at Dalymount for the first time since September 2013. Harney got a second yellow card for the offence, and marched off. However, Dinny’s penalty was weakish – low and not sufficiently into the corner. Skinner palmed it away easily, and the ball was cleared for a corner.

Disappointment at not winning, but relief at not losing was clear. Bohs remain 9 points clear of bottom of the table Athlone, but with Champions St. Pats and title-chasing Cork City the next two visitors to Dalymount, the search for an elusive home league win may continue.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Anto Murphy, Dano Byrne, Aidan Price, Jack Memery, Keith Buckley (Kevin Devaney 54), Roberto Lopes, Eoin Wearen, Paddy Kavanagh (Karl Moore, 83), Steven Beattie, Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Jason Byrne, Jake Hyland, Craig Walsh, Gavin Moore.

Athlone Town: Paul Skinner, Stephen Quigley, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Sean Byrne, Kealan Dillon, Mark Hughes, Sean Brennan, James O’Brien (Ian Sweeney 84), Barry Clancy (Neil Harney 68), Philip Gorman. Subs not used: Derek Doyle, Graham Rusk, Thomas Mulroney, Dean Mahon, Jason Marks.

Mr. Green Bohemian Man of the Match: Kevin Devaney

Pic by Eddie Lennon – eddielennonsportingimages.com

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