Last-gasp Hoban strikes again to break Bohs hearts
Dundalk 2 Bohemians 1
The third meeting of these clubs in the space of five weeks was settled in a similar fashion to the first as Patrick Hoban's late, late penalty secured Dundalk a dramatic victory against 10-man Bohemians that keeps them top of the pile - on goal difference - at the midway point of the season.
An absorbing affair looked set to end in a draw but, with the game in the fourth minute of stoppage time, substitute Dean Jarvis was upended by Andy Lyons and Hoban, just like he did on April 15 - and again on May 10 - beat James Talbot from 12 yards to spark wild jubilation.
The result was tough on Bohs who pulled ahead here with less than two minutes played. Patrick McEleney's attempted pass to Jordan Flores was cut out by Aaron Barry and Bohs sprung rapidly on the counter. Robbie McCourt's pass caught the Dundalk back four square and even though he was stood up by Gary Rogers, Danny Grant still managed to find the net from an acute angle.
It was mostly one-way traffic after that as Dundalk huffed and puffed. Their best opportunity to level things arrived in the 17th minute when McEleney shifted the ball left for Michael Duffy but, with only Talbot to beat, he sliced his effort wide. Bohs continued to find themselves on the back foot and Flores should have asked more of Talbot from 18 yards after breaking onto a Hoban lay-off.
Grant's night came to a premature end when he limped off with a hamstring injury four minutes before the break but the blow was almost softened when Ryan Swan hustled Sean Gannon into a mistake outside his penalty area but the Bohs striker couldn't apply a clinical finish.
Grant's replacement, Ryan Graydon, lasted a total of 13 minutes before he received his marching orders. Booked just seconds after the restart, the 20-year-old left his team to play 36 minutes with 10-men for a silly tackle on Daniel Cleary which led to his departure.
Dundalk went for the jugular with Perth dispatching Georgie Kelly to play alongside Hoban in the front line and the move paid off in the 66th minute when the striker buried a loose ball past Talbot to make it 1-1.
The champions continued to swarm all over the visitors and Talbot made a brilliant save to deny Hoban with four minutes to go with Lyons finding himself expertly placed to block Cleary's header from the subsequent corner off his line.
Six additional minutes were added and Bohs thought they snatched it when Danny Mandroiu jinked his way to the byline but McCourt couldn't sweep his cutback home before play switched to the other end where Hoban, yet again, had the final say with his sixth penalty of the season.
DUNDALK - Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Hoare, Massey (Jarvis 84); Shields, Flores, (Murray 64); D Kelly (G Kelly 56), McEleney, Duffy; Hoban.
BOHEMIANS - Talbot; Lyons, Finnerty, Barry, Leahy; McCourt, Levingston; Grant (Graydon 40), Mandroiu, Wade Slater; Swan (Reghba 68) (Allerdice 80).
REF - D Tomney.