CLINICAL PAT’S PUNISH BOHS

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC 3 BOHEMIANS 1 

Bohemians produced an improved performance from the poor display against Limerick last week but the result was the same as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat in Inchicore on Friday night, writes CONOR HAYES.

A great finish from Jason Byrne had given Bohs the lead but goals from former Bohs pair Christy Fagan and Chris Forrester sealed the win for the champions in front of President Michael D. Higgins and ensured a second defeat on the bounce for Owen Heary’s side.

Bohs made five changes from the game against Limerick with forward Byrne, captain Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy and Andy Mulligan coming into the side. Both sides began cautiously as the Bohs five-man midfield pressed their opponents into making mistakes in the initial stages.

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Despite having the lion share of possession the champions did not look dangerous early on but did have the first shot in anger on eight minutes. Forrester was a threat roaming inside from the left-hand side and he found himself at the edge of the box after eight minutes but his looping effort went comfortably over the bar.

Craig Walsh looked to have been given the task of shackling Irish international Keith Fahey and he went about the task enthusiastically, ensuring the vaunted midfielder did not get a foothold in the game during the first half.

Bohs didn’t really threaten their opponents’ goal during this period but after 23 minutes they found themselves in the lead after a stunning strike from Byrne. A driving run from Walsh in midfield saw him pick out the lone striker, who had peeled off the last defender and from the edge of the area he produced an audacious chip over a stunned Brendan Clarke and into the net. A goal of instinctive brilliance.

The away side’s lead was to be short-lived, however, as Pat’s levelled just four minutes later. Ger O’Brien cross into the area was only half-cleared by Aidan Price, the ball rolled into the path of Fagan, who finished coolly into the corner.

The Richmond Park outfit were buoyed by their equaliser and dominated the rest of the first half, creating numerous chances. Conan Byrne was creating havoc down Bohs’ left side and twice his searching balls into the danger zone almost found Fagan who was lurking.

On 37 minutes, Fahey’s free-kick was floated into the area and picked out Fagan inside the six-yard box. His downward header looked destined for the goal but was superbly clawed away by Bohs net-minder Lee Murphy. Bohs were praying for the half-time whistle now and three minutes from the break they escaped conceding again as James Chambers headed over.

The visitors began the second half with more of a foothold in the game and had the chance to take an unlikely lead in the 49th minute as a Darragh Reynor free-kick found Price in space but he could only direct his header wide. Murphy then again showed his shot-stopping ability with a super save on to the post from a long range thunderbolt from Fagan.

Karl Moore had been summoned from the bench at half-time and at times looked dangerous on the left wing, after 57 minutes his cross was just deflected wide of  Byrne, who was waiting to apply the finish.

Jason’s namesake Conan continued to be a menace to the Gypsies’ defence and his ball in on 64 minutes found Forrester three yards from goal but he somehow manged to blaze it over much to the glee of Bohemians supporters behind the goal.

Forrester’s embarrassment would not last, however, as barely a minute later, his side had the lead for the first time. Fahey, whose influence in the game continued to grow, found Conan Byrne with a perfect through ball, the winger then drilled a cross into the middle of the area which after a scramble found its way to Fagan who had his second of the night.

Bohs tried to respond and their chance came with 17 minutes remaining. Good work from Moore found Reynor, his pin-point swinging cross found Jason Byrne only a few yards from goal but he skewed his free header wide.

One felt Bohs would be punished for such profligacy and the killer goal duly arrived four minutes later. Fagan this time the provider as his pass fell to Forrester who skillfully beat two defenders in the box before sending Murphy the wrong way and finding the net.

The game fizzled out at this point with Pats clearly happy with their two goal advantage while the men playing in green couldn’t create a way back into the match.

So a disappointing night for Bohemians, they will try to bounce back and improve their home form against Sligo at 3pm on Easter Monday.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke, Ger O’Brien (c) (Conor McCormack 81), Sean Hoare, Ian Bermingham , Kenny Browne, James Chambers (Sam Verdon 89), Keith Fahey, Lee Lynch, Conan Byrne, Christopher Forrester, Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Pat Jennings, Derek Foran, Lorcan Fitzgearld, Peter Durrard, Daryl Kavanagh.

Bohemians: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price, Darragh Reynor, Keith Buckley (Paddy Kavanagh 77), Ryan McEvoy, Dave Mulcahy (c), Craig Walsh (Steven Beattie 62), Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore 45), Jason Byrne.
Subs not used: Gavin Moore, Dan Byrne, Jake Hyland Stephen Traynor.

RUTHLESS BOHS PUNISH POINTLESS ATHLONE

ATHLONE TOWN  1 – 3  BOHEMIANS

Bohemians’ first visit to the Athlone Town Stadium at Lissywoolen proved to be a fruitful one as Owen Heary’s men grabbed all three points to record their second victory of the season on Monday night. Bottom club Athlone finished with 10 men as they were put to the sword thanks to goals from Dano Byrne, Jason Byrne, and one of the most comical own goals ever witnessed in the League of Ireland.

Veteran striker Byrne and Kevin Devaney were the only outfield changes from the team that drew with Bray Wanderers, while Lee Murphy replaced the suspended Dean Delany in goal. Bohs boss Heary will be delighted with a first league victory since the opening weekend as the Gypsies jumped into fifth place in the SSE Airtricity League table, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Wearing their green away strip, Bohs were quick out of the blocks with Paddy Kavanagh creating the first opening on four minutes. Playing from the right flank, he jinked inside before switching the play across to Kevin Devaney on the left. Devaney got the ball on his right foot and let fly from 18 yards, but the ball crashed off the crossbar and went over. Devaney was impressive as a substitute against Bray, and did well on his third league start of the season here. He had a goal disallowed mid-way through the first half for what appeared to be a handball before he prodded Jason Byrne’s cross into the roof of the net.

Athlone offered little going forward, and all signs point to a long and rather difficult season ahead for Mick Cooke’s men. Bohs were finding them hard to break down, with most opportunities arising from inswinging Darragh Reynor corners. The opening goal came from one such incident just two minutes before the break. Having skewed a couple to the near post, this time Reynor floated the ball to the back stick where Dano Byrne was on hand to turn the ball home for his first goal in the colours of his boyhood club. The disadvantage was compounded for Athlone as skipper Aidan Collins was stretchered off after injuring himself attempting to block the goal.

The second half started slowly, but exploded into life with two goals and a red card in the space of just six minutes. First, the dismissal; Stephen Traynor slid in to get the ball on the right wing, and was clattered late by a lunging Derek Prendergast. The Athlone defender’s tackle caught Traynor on the thigh, and referee Kevin O’Regan reached into the back pocket for a straight red. Prendergast didn’t protest too much, and even offered an apology to Traynor before trudging off.

Although that incident could have deflated the home team, they amazingly grabbed an equaliser almost immediately. A long cross-field pass found Sean Brennan on the right, and he crossed for Graham Rusk – who beat Murphy with an arrowed finish from 16 yards.

In 15 years’ time, there will be an own-goal compilation video on Youtube that simply has to feature Bohs’ second goal. Reacting to a quick throw from Derek Pender, James O’Brien lunged and swung his leg to stop the ball from getting to Stephen Traynor. Much to everyone’s amazement, the ball shanked off his boot looped up, and soared over keeper Paul Skinner from all of 25 yards at an amazing angle. It even postage-stamped the top corner.

Heary went for the jugular, bringing on Stephen Beattie and Dinny Corcoran and switching to a 4-4-2. With Athlone pushing for an equaliser, Bohs capitalised on the break. A wonderful cross-field Devaney pass set Beattie through, but his simple square ball was somehow missed by Jason Byrne. Not to be denied, the legendary striker got the insurance goal with six minutes remaining. A Reynor corner was taken short to Traynor who clipped an inviting ball in. Dano Byrne rose to flick it on, and namesake Jason was on hand to slide in Bohs’ third at the back post. That goal confirmed a well-deserved win for the Gypsies, who host Limerick at Dalymount on Friday.

Athlone Town: Paul Skinner, Aidan Collins (Jason Marks, 45), Sean Byrne, Alan Byrne, Derek Prendergast, Mark Hughes, Kealan Dillon, Sean Brennan (Conor McMahon, 59), James O’Brien, Philip Gorman, Graham Rusk. Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Barry Clancy, Declan Brennan, Ian Sweeney.

Bohemians: Lee Murphy, Derek Pender, Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Darragh Reynor, Kevin Devaney (Karl Moore, 85), Dano Byrne, Craig Walsh (Dinny Corcoran, 70), Paddy Kavanagh (Steven Beattie, 64), Stephen Traynor, Jason Byrne. . Subs not used: Ryan McEvoy, Philip McCabe, Keith Buckley, Jake Hyland.

Bohemianfc.com Man of the Match: Dano Byrne

DEAN SEES RED, DINNY LEAVES IT LATE

BOHEMIANS  1 – 1  BRAY WANDERERS

Ten-man Bohemians had to wait until the 89th minute before they grabbed a late and well-deserved equaliser against a retreating Bray Wanderers at Dalymount Park. Owen Heary’s men were a man down for over an hour after Dean Delany was sent off for a challenge on Bray’s Jake Kelly. The resultant penalty put Bray into the lead, but the Gyspies fought back to claim their second 1-1 draw in as many games.

While Steven Beattie was awarded the Mr Green Man of the Match Award, it was referee Sean Grant who was the centre of attention, with a series of eccentric decisions that had the Jodi Stand hopping with rage, writes KEVIN FAGAN.

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Bohs boss Heary made just two changes from the team that drew away at Dundalk, with Steven Beattie replacing Keith Buckley and Dinny Corcoran replacing Jason Byrne. Bohs fan Dano Byrne continued his shielding of the back four. Bohs started fast, the first ten minutes were quick-fire with good crisp passing and attacking threat. Beattie forced Bray keeper Stephen McGuinness into an early save.

Bray are still finding their feet under Alan Matthews, and gradually began to find their feet in this game. Big frontman Ismahil Akinade was causing problems for Aidan Price and Roberto Lopes, while Jake Kelly was buzzing around picking up second balls. Bohs fans have been clamouring for keeper Dean Delany to come off his line for many a month, but they would have given anything for him not to have done so in the 20th minute. A long punt from full back Robert Maloney split the Bohs defence, and with Jake Kelly getting close to the ball, Delany rushed out and pole-axed the Bray forward with a very clumsy lunge. Referee Grant produced a red card, but there was a massive 5+ minutes of waiting before the penalty was taken. Kelly was clearly seriously injured and left the field on a stretcher. Bohs cult favourite Dave Scully replaced him, and eventually Graham Kelly stepped up and scored his penalty past new Bohs debutant Lee Murphy.

Bohs were rattled for a full 10 minutes after the concession. Matthews will rue the fact that Bray didn’t press home their advantage. Shane Byrne had a free pop at goal from 16 yards but could only scuff into Murphy’s arms. Gradually, Bohs got over their shock and began to regain their footing in the game. Steven Beattie was bustling and industrious down the right flank, but got on the wrong side of referee Grant after tangling with Adam Mitchell. Beattie eventually won a free kick on the stroke of half time, and Darragh Reynor’s cross found Aidan Price’s head – just like last week in Oriel Park. However, this time Price’s header cannoned off the crossbar and looped over.

The second half was barely two minutes old before Bray’s best chance to seal it arrived. Akinade charged down Price’s rushed clearance, and suddenly found himself through on goal. His floated shot flew past the onrushing Murphy, but fell wide much to Bohs’ relief. On the hour mark, Beattie had a great chance to equalize after being played through by Craig Walsh, but his shot was well saved by diminutive keeper McGuinness. Heary made a key substitution with 20 minutes left – Kevin Devaney came on for the ineffective Karl Moore, and immediately injected a purpose into Bohs’ play.

Gradually, the pressure built, and the goal came with just a minute of normal time remaining. Walsh sprayed an amazing ball over the top of the Bray defence to set Corcoran through. The Bohs frontman showed great composure to let the ball beat him and McGuinness simultaneously, before slotting firmly into the empty net. The goal actually put Bohs into the top half of the table, and Heary’s men will be looking to add to their total when they visit point-less Athlone on Monday evening.

Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Aidan Price, Roberto Lopes, Darragh Reynor (Jason Byrne, 78), Karl Moore (Kevin Devaney, 69), Daniel Byrne, Craig Walsh, Steven Beattie, Paddy Kavanagh (Lee Murphy, 22), Dinny Corcoran. Subs not used: Stephen Traynor, Ryan McEvoy, Philip McCabe, Keith Buckley.

Bray Wanderers: Stephen McGuinness, Shane O’Connor, David Webster, Adam Mitchell, Robert Moloney (Shane O’Neill 78), Graham Kelly, Dean Zambra, David Cassidy, Shane Byrne, Jake Kelly (Dave Scully, 27), Ismahil Akinade.  Subs not used: Jamie McGlynn, Gary Curran, Niall Cooney, Ciarán Byrne.

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