Impressive Saints take derby spoils
St Patrick's Athletic 3 0 Bohemians
THEIR opening home game of the season turned into a fiasco so this was an important victory for Liam Buckley’s new-look St Patrick’s Athletic side.
They burst out of the blocks early to take advantage of an uncharacteristically complacent display from Keith Long’s Bohemians and open up a lead that sent them towards a deserved Dublin derby win.
It sent the Inchicore patrons home happy. Worry was the primary emotion after Galway took them apart here last Friday week and this confidence-booster sets up another significant encounter with Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght later this week.
Bohs made the journey across town with a positive approach, perhaps taking encouragement from the gaps which Galway found at this venue. Mark Quigley was deployed behind Izzy Akinade with the attack-minded Kurtis Byrne and Patrick Kavanagh roving the flanks.
However, the visitors were two behind inside 15 minutes as they struggled to lay a glove on Buckley’s men who kept the ball and worked crossing situations which created both goals.
In the fourth minute, the Saints created the space for left-back Ian Bermingham to rove forward and send in a cross that was converted at the far post by the inrushing Mark Timlin – the winter recruit from Derry.
Bohs’ marking was poor for that strike, but it deteriorated inside ten minutes when a simple throw-in to Billy Dennehy was followed by an instinctive flick into the box that Christy Fagan anticipated quicker than Roberto Lopes and dispatched with a downward header.
Fagan’s prolonged injury absence was a factor in a difficult 2015 and he tormented his old employers with Dean Delany called into action to prevent the rampant natives from adding a third.
The big change in Buckley’s set-up is in the midfield department and he brought ex-Irish international Keith Treacy in for his maiden start in a holding role in front of the back four that was largely filled by James Chambers. It should suit his technical capabilities although better outfits may ask tougher defensive questions.
Fellow newcomers Graham Kelly and David Cawley operated further ahead and they both threatened before the interval with Bohs strangely subdued. Still, they nearly halved the deficit with a smart Byrne shot drawing a reaction save from Brendan Clarke.
Unsurprisingly, the Phibsborough side kicked off the second half on the front foot with an irate Long barking instructions on the sideline. They had two shouts for a penalty waved away with Eoin Wearen and Akinade appealing in vain.
But despite a couple of messy penalty-area scrambles, they had failed to adequately test Clarke when the difficulty of their task was upped by another gradient when Akinade received a second yellow in the 66th minute for a mistimed challenge on Shane McEleney.
That removed suspense from the remainder of this encounter despite a reshuffle from Long in an attempt to fashion an unlikely comeback which left him a man down at the back.
In the end, the gamble culminated with the concession of a third as sub Conan Byrne galloped into space on the right and sent in a teaser that was gleefully nodded past Delany by Dennehy. That capped an encouraging exercise for the locals and a troubling one for last season’s surprise packages.
St Patrick’s Athletic – Clarke; O’Brien, S McEleney, D Dennehy, Bermingham; Treacy (Verdon 75); Timlin (Byrne 79), Cawley, Kelly, B Dennehy; Fagan.
Bohemians – Delany; Pender, Prendergast (Ben Mohammed 75), Lopes, Best; Wearen, Buckley; Byrne, Quigley (Kelly 75), Kavanagh; Akinade.
Ref – P Sutton (Clare)