Finn Harps edge out Bohs on extra time thriller
The old adage about Ballybofey being a tough place to go for Dublin teams came true for Bohemians last night, in more ways than one.
The Gypsies’ hopes of an FAI Cup run, and their only chance of a trophy, ended as they were beaten 4-3 by Finn Harps, in extra time, in a thriller.
It was a tough evening from the start for Bohs as travel issues had them on the backfoot before a ball was kicked. Whatever happened while the team were having their pre-match meal in nearby Letterkenny, the team bus refused to start when Keith Long’s squad boarded, a replacement coach had to be sourced with the result a late arrival at Finn Park and a delayed kick off.
What followed was an enthralling but energy-sapping battle over 120 minutes, Harps coming out on top thanks to a brilliant free kick from English striker Eddie Dsane four minutes into extra time.
Bohs had put on one of their worst displays of the season to date in a 2-1 league defeat away to Harps recently and, after that late arrival and the disrupted pre-match preparations, the early signs were not good for Keith Long’s men.
There was barely a minute gone when keeper Shane Supple was needed to deny Cantwell, on eight minutes Bohs needed Rob Cornwall to clear the danger as Sean Houston threatened, and seconds later Harps full back Tommy McBride tested Supple again.
But it was Bohs who managed to get their noses in front, against the run of play, on 22 minutes, Dinny Corcoran showing his class as he controlled the ball on the edge of the area and fired a shot past keeper Ciaran Gallagher.
The response from the home side was swift enough, Harps equalising on the half-hour mark, as defender Cantwell was able to get free inside the box, connect with a free kick from Pascal Millien and within five minutes Harps were 2-1 in front.
Bohs claimed that defender Dan Byrne’s touch on Ibrahim Keita in the box was soft enough but referee Paul McLaughlin deemed it a penalty, which Houston sent past Supple and into the net.
Bohs drew level thanks to that rarity, a headed goal from winger Paddy Kavanagh four minutes into the second half, and soon after that Fuad Sule went close.
Bohs did regain the lead on 74 minutes, another rare occurrence, a goal from captain and defender Derek Pender, who worked a one-two with Oscar Brennan and fired home a fine shot.
Now deep into injury time, Bohs thought they had done enough but a foul on sub Caolan McAleer in the box led to another penalty and another successful spot kick from Houston, sending the tie to extra time.
Just four minutes into that spell of extra time, striker Dsane looked calm as he teed up a free kick on the edge of the box, his effort got a touch from keeper Supple, was touched onto the upright but Supple was unable to prevent the ball creeping over the line, that goal proving to be the winner for Harps and Dsane who was hospitalised with an illness after last week’s league game. Dsane now very much a hero in the eyes of the Harps support.