Monday 18 December 2017

Nine-man Bohs hold out to frustrate Saints

St Pat's Ath 1
Bohemians 1

If August isn't the month when League of Ireland titles are won, then it certainly has claims to be the time of year when they're lost.

Take last night. St Pat's began the evening seven points adrift of leaders Derry City, and ended it just marginally better off, despite the fact they played the last 22 minutes of this game against just nine players.

Only time will tell what the psychological impact of this result will have on Pete Mahon's side, but from a Bohs perspective, it can only reinforce their team spirit at a time when their own league ambitions are flagging.

Because for them this was a victory in all but name. Reduced to 10 men after 42 minutes, when Christy Fagan was dismissed for a second bookable offence, and then to nine men in the 68th minute, after Liam Burns handled a goal-bound shot on the line, Bohs defended with an intelligence that Pat's simply could not match.

Add in the old-fashioned qualities of work rate, desire and organisation and you have an explanation for how they escaped from Richmond Park with a point.

And to all those factors, the contribution of goalkeeper Barry Murphy also requires a mention. Unbeatable in the first half, when he made three exceptional stops from Daryl Kavanagh, David McMillan and Anto Murphy, Murphy went on to direct his eight outfield troops brilliantly when the pressure was at its fullest.

In contrast, St Pat's were dominant throughout but lacked the gumption to close the deal. What they needed was width and patience. What they produced was Plan A as an alternative to Plan A.

Yet initially, that strategy worked. As Bohs started off with a negative 4-5-1 system, Pat's passed with greater precision and pace and subsequently forced the play into the opposition half.

Yet for all their dominance, they could not convert any of their chances and by the time Fagan was sent for an early bath, they were beginning to show signs of panic.

That increased in the 52nd minute when Burns scored the Bohemians goal -- a calm finish with his right foot after Anto Flood had directed the ball into his path with a spectacular overhead kick.

Immediately, Bohs retreated into the trenches, adopting a what-we-have-we-hold policy. It looked like working until Burns handled McMillan's shot on the line.

That resulted in a penalty, a sending off and, from Stephen Bradley, an equalising goal. But Bohs held on.

St Patrick's Athletic -- Rogers; Pender, E McMillan, Kenna, Bermingham; Murphy (McFaul 66), Mulcahy, Bradley, Doyle (Daly 66); Kavanagh, D McMillan.

Bohemians -- Murphy; Rossiter ( Lopes 87), Price, Burns, Cahill; Flood (Forrester 89), Cronin, Hurley (Feely 74), O'Brien, Brennan; Fagan.

Ref -- T Connolly (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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