Clarke seals deal as Shamrock Rovers pile on the pain for blunt Bohemians
Bohemians 0 Shamrock Rovers 2
WITH ten minutes remaining, a lone pitch invader who emerged from the home section gave the locals some cheer as he evaded a posse of stewards before his mazy run was brought to an abrupt end.
“Stick him up front” shouted a frustrated Bohemians fan. By that stage, all hope of a comeback had evaporated as the Premier Division’s lowest goalscorers fired a blank against their arch-rivals to drop into the relegation zone.
Bohs were all perspiration and no inspiration. Shamrock Rovers, by contrast, wrapped this up with two first-half strikes of real quality that illustrated the gap between the old Dublin enemies.
Rovers wingers Brandon Miele and Trevor Clarke delivered goals for a sweet success that builds on the momentum generated by last weekend’s impressive defeat of champions Dundalk in Tallaght.
It gives Stephen Bradley’s boys the platform to ensure they stay in the top half of the table for the remainder of the campaign.
Keith Long’s part-time operation look set for a battle at the other end. The hard core still applauded them off at full-time, for they knew that maximum effort was given, but that alone will not be enough to drag them clear of bother.
Bohemians needed the assistance of the Fire Brigade for pitch watering to ensure this game went ahead, but they were burned by their arch-rivals in an opening 45 where the Hoops clinically dispatched a pair of chances that gave them a match-winning lead.
The opener came inside six minutes with Graham Burke meandering right and sending in a cross that was emphatically dispatched by Miele – in for the suspended Darren Meenan – for his fourth goal against Bohs in all competitions this season.
Long did have first-choice striker Dinny Corcoran back up top and, while Rovers were the better side, the Gypsies did have opportunities, with Ian Morris miscuing a header before the key moment of the match.
Oscar Brennan made inroads into the Hoops penalty area and scooped to the far post where Paddy Kavanagh was waiting but he scuffed a golden opportunity.
Rovers made them pay. Bradley has used the exciting Clarke at left-back and left wing this term and he gave the teenager another brief here, selecting him on the right flank.
He was a threat cutting in onto his favoured left foot and that was in evidence from the counter that followed, with the ball worked to Clarke, who got away from Lorcan Fitzgerald and sent an unstoppable effort flying past Shane Supple to set off delirious celebrations in the away end.
It gave Rovers a cushion, and their mission from the start of the second half onwards was effectively to protect it as a spirited Bohs side with inferior resources poured their heart and soul into the fixture. The quota of crunching tackles for a derby was comfortably reached.
They lack subtlety in attacking areas, though, and relied on a series of long throws and set-pieces that came to nowt. The Hoops have got the basics wrong on a number of occasions this term; they held tight here with centre-halves Dave Webster and former Dalymount favourite Roberto Lopes getting in the way when necessary.
Brennan came closest to reducing the deficit with a right-footer that trickled wide and that did raise the decibel levels in the sold-out Jodi Stand.
As the minutes ticked by, however, the belief levels drained and the loss of skipper Derek Pender to injury was the catalyst for some Gypsy-leaning members of the 3,622 crowd to filter towards the exit. Bohs will need them back for the fight that lies ahead.
Bohemians – Supple, Pender (Hayes 70), Cornwall, Byrne, Fitzgerald; Sule, Morris; Kavanagh, Brennan, Simon (Doyle 70); Corcoran
Shamrock Rovers – Chencinksi, Madden, Webster, Lopes, Byrne; Finn, McAllister; Clarke, Burke, Miele (Boyd 76); Shaw (O’Connor 90)
Ref – P McLaughlin (Monaghan)