Bohemians go top of the table with another Dublin derby win over 10-man Shamrock Rovers
Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
With a 10-year gap since their last major trophy success, Bohemians fans have had to make do with wins over their hated rivals Shamrock Rovers to give a sheen of success to their seasons of late.
Last night at a sold-out Dalymount Park, Keith Long’s men delivered yet another win over the Hoops, the fifth victory in the last six league games against Rovers, Dinny Corcoran’s second-half penalty the difference between the sides, with the added bonus of a lofty position at the top of the league table.
Sustaining a title challenge will be difficult for Long’s young squad to sustain but three games into the new season, Bohs are the unlikely leaders of the pack, three wins and three clean sheets from three games.
Robbie Keane was making his first appearance at a Dublin derby in his new role as coach to Mick McCarthy’s senior set-up and while international-standard football was hard to spot in this game, hard-fought like so many derbies, Keane will have come away impressed with the young talent in the Bohs side.
Five of the starting XI for Keith Long were playing in their first derby match and youngsters James Talbot, James Finnerty and in particular wide man Luke Wade-Slater were boys who played like men.
The Rovers camp will point to decisions by referee Rob Harvey in each half, an early red card for Rovers forward Aaron Greene and a 65th-minute penalty which Dinny Corcoran converted.
But the long wait for a Rovers win over their rivals goes on, Rovers now turning their attention to Friday’s battle with champions Dundalk.
It could all have been so different had Rovers made the most of their early possession, Bohs unable to get hold of the ball or get a foothold in the game.
Twice in the first 10 minutes Rovers posed a threat to the home team.
First up on eight minutes was Jack Byrne whose shot was blocked by Bohs defender Finnerty while a minute later, Talbot made his first save from Aaron McEneff’s shot.
Rovers were still on top in the game when the night turned against them, Greene shown a straight red card for a challenge on Keith Ward, right in front of the dugouts and, more importantly, the eye of the fourth official who appeared to recommend a red to Harvey.
Bohs failed to make their one-man advantage count in the remaining minutes of the first half, with Wade-Slater and Daniel Mandroiu looking lively whenever they got on the ball but, bar an off-target shot by Corcoran on 40 minutes Bohs were unable to come up with much.
On 65 minutes they did get in front, the referee playing a big role.
As Ward pounded into the Rovers box he went to ground following a shove by Joey O’Brien, referee Rogers pointed to the spot and old-stager Corcoran slotted home as goalkeeper Alan Mannus went the wrong way.
The Gypsies almost doubled that lead on 75 minutes when man of the match Ward again worked his way into the box, his shot blocked by O’Brien while Ward’s attempt from the rebound was well off target.
Five minutes of added time fed hope for the away support that a goal would come, goalkeeper Mannus sent on the attack in injury time.
Mannus was involved in attempts on goal as Rovers looked for something from a corner kick but Talbot’s goal remained intact for the third game in a row and Bohs head to Waterford on Friday with the unlikely status of league leaders.
BOHS – Talbot; Pender, Cornwall, Finnerty (Barry 76), Leahy (Kirk 63); Buckley, Levingston; Wade-Slater, Mandroiu, Ward (Reghba 81); Corcoran.
ROVERS – Mannus; O’Brien, Grace, S Kavanagh; Bolger; Boyle (Lopes 37), McEneff, Watts (Finn 58), Byrne (Carr 46), Clarke; Greene.