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still all White on the night!

THE nerves are showing, but the wins keep stacking up for Dundalk who took a major step towards their first league title since 1995 last night, with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Bohemians which gives them a six-point lead at the top.

Dundalk played with passion and panache for large parts of this season but as the finishing line comes closer, it's a case of winning matches instead of wowing people, and Stephen Kenny's men needed to show their grit and determination by coming back from a 2-1 deficit at half-time to earn this valuable win, thanks largely to sub David McMillan.

The Dublin-born striker has been fed only scraps at Dundalk this season, starting only three of their 26 league games, but as an option off the bench he's priceless and his two goals in the second half made the difference last night.

dropped

It was a good night all round for Dundalk as their closest rivals for the title, Cork City, dropped points away to bottom side Athlone Town and should Kenny's outfit win their next league game, away to third-placed St Patrick's Athletic, it would be hard to see anyone wresting the crown away from Oriel Park.

Dundalk started strongly, Richie Towell setting up Patrick Hoban in the seventh minute but Roberto Lopes made a strong block to cut out the danger, and three minutes later a Kurtis Byrne cross from the right looked dangerous until Lopes cleared.

The home side prodded away at Bohs and got their reward on 22 minutes. Darren Meenan whipped in a corner, Hoban flicked it on and Andy Boyle was at the far post to stab home the opening goal, his first league goal since May.

But the Dundalk defence, which looked so solid in the second series of games were the clean sheets stacked up, has been more fragile in recent weeks and they suffered as Bohs struck twice to take the lead.

Former Manchester City trainee Karl Moore had gone for a long spell without a goal but he scored his second in two league games on 24 minutes to level the scores, Moore beating Peter Cherrie with a stunning drive from distance.

And Moore was the source for the lead goal for Bohs three minutes before half-time, the winger taking on Dundalk with a brave run and leaving a nice layoff for Dinny Corcoran who blasted the ball home, his 14th goal of the season in all competitions.

Dundalk needed something different and they got that at the break, McMillan replacing Kurtis Byrne, and just eight minutes into the second half, he nabbed the equaliser, heading past Dean Delany from Daryl Horgan's cross.

Bohs remained in the game, with efforts from Jason Byrne and the impressive Eoin Wearen, but it was in the script that the next goal had to come from McMillan and he got it on 76 minutes.

Under pressure from Pat Hoban, keeper Delany punched away a long ball out of defence and McMillan was unmarked at the edge of the area to finish for the winner.

That win, combined with Cork's failure to take a win away from Athlone, leave Dundalk with that six-point lead heading into that vital test away to Pats next weekend, with further battles in the EA Sports Cup and FAI Cup to come in September, but for now the league chase is on course.

Meanwhile, Shelbourne lost the chance to make up some ground in the title race in Division One as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to leaders Longford Town last night.

Shels needed a win to go level on points with Tony Cousins's side but the Reds were unable to break down the midlanders and settled for a point.


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