Bohs savour derby success over 10-man Shamrock Rovers
Bohemians 1 Shamrock Rovers 0
THERE have been much more important Dublin derbies than this one but victory still tasted sweet for all involved with Bohemians tonight.
Keith Long’s side had suffered defeat in the two previous meetings this term so they were keen to put that right against a Rovers side that no longer has European stress on account of Dundalk and Cork’s dominance extending to the FAI Cup.
Barring a cataclysmic collapse, they will finish in the top four but they were second best here, with a savvy Bohs operation that is finishing the season strongly good value for the final result.
Granted, their task was helped by the fact that Rovers played the final quarter with ten men when Patrick Cregg was ordered off.
But the Tallaght side had struggled to create opportunities with 11 men, so stand-in boss Stephen Bradley – confined to the stands due to a touchline ban – had little cause for complaint.
Bohs have lost out from the unusual fixture chaos which has affected the top end of the table, as the decision to bring forward a home game with Dundalk that was originally planned for later this month made this their last Dalymount date of 2016.
They showed the purpose to finish on a high from the outset and were deservedly ahead at the interval.
Rovers did have an early opportunity when Gary Shaw broke through and shot over, but Bohs were more compact and started to grab control in the centre of the park.
Roberto Lopes and Bohs’ player of the season Keith Buckley were both eager to burst forward and expose fault lines between the Hoops defence and midfield.
But the opener came from a straightforward set-piece that arose from Paddy Kavanagh forcing a corner from a right-wing foray, an area where he had some joy, with Simon Madden still operating out of position at left-full for the visitors. Lorcan Fitzgerald swung in a trademark inviting delivery that Lopes dispatched with a bullet header.
Long’s charges could have gone in with a bigger advantage with a long-range effort from Jake Kelly missing the target and Buckley overclubbing when he again found the space to race through on goal.
The Phibsborough patrons were still in good spirits after the restart with half-chances at both ends before a spell of Rovers pressure ended disastrously when Cregg’s attempt to win a penalty earned him a second yellow for simulation.
Rovers had six teenagers on the bench and introduced Aaron Bolger and Luke Kiely in search of a leveller, switching to three at the back for the dying minutes and taking chances.
The hosts utilised their subs too without ever really capitalising on the space that sporadically opened up on the counter attack. They panicked in situations where calmer application might have paid off.
They seemed to be well in control when the sign went up to show there would be four added minutes, with the Bohs supporters moving onto Christmas songs as they taunted their arch-rivals, with a heavy police and security moving into position to ensure there would be no repeat of the trouble that marred the first game in Dublin 7 this year.
Rovers ran riot on the pitch on that occasion, but it would have been a smash and grab if Shaw had converted a header at the death.
It dropped over the bar and that was that, with the final whistle greeted with a loud roar of approval to kick off a Bohs celebration.
Bohemians – Supple, Pender, Prendergast, Morris, Fitzgerald; Lopes; Kavanagh (Quigley 90), Wearen (Byrne 86), Buckley, Kelly; Byrne (O’Halloran 76)
Shamrock Rovers – Murphy, Hanney (Kiely 81), O’Connor, Webster, Madden; Cregg, McCabe; Clarke (Bolger 70), Shaw, Miele; Boyd.
REF – P Tuite (Dublin)