St Pats in danger of losing their top-flight status for the first time ever after Bohs loss
Bohemians 3 St Patrick's Athletic 2
THE idea that St Patrick's Athletic are Too Big To Go Down will be sorely tested in the weeks ahead as the Saints suffered in a big Dublin derby, losing 3-2 to Bohemians and are in real danger of losing their top-flight status for the first time in their history.
The paying punters, all 2,543 of them who eschewed Dublin's offerings on culture night, got to see a real thriller, the pace head-spinning from early on with three goals and a red card in the opening 15 minutes alone.
Goals from their two-man strike force of Ismahil Akinade and Dinny Corcoran (2), with responses from the other side by Christy Fagan and Conan Byrne, gives Bohs the win which eases any fears they had of relegation, Bohs now safely in sixth place and with a sniff of a top-four finish.
But Pats are today in the bottom three, the drop zone, and another defeat in their next game, away to Shamrock Rovers on Monday, would leave them with very little breathing space in the fight to stay up.
The Saints had a fresh face in their side, Polish keeper Lukasz Skowron making his full league debut with his first taste of a Dublin derby, but it was at times a torrid night for the 26-year-old who came to Ireland after spells in Cyprus and Portugal, as well as his native Poland.
The goals in even before some fans had claimed their seats. Bohs went in front in the second minute, Akinade heading home from Paddy Kavanagh's cross.
Within second, Pat's were level, former Bohs man Christy Fagan on target here, a fine finish from Fagan after a good ball from Michael Barker.
The game turned the way of the home side on 15 minutes, when Corcoran scored from the penalty spot. Defender Gavin Peers, making his first league start since June, was unable to deal with Akinade in the box so he hauled down the Nigerian-born forward, referee Ben Connolly deciding instantly on a red card and a spot kick.
The Saints suffered on the back of that as Bohs took control and tested Skowron time and again, though the Pole did well to keep his side in it.
Pat's did respond in first-half injury time, Conan Byrne turning Ian Morris and getting in a shot on target but Supple was able to save.
Five minutes after the restart, Corcoran, a handy GAA player when time allows it, gave fans of the northside Dublin club more reasons to celebrate with his side's third of the night and his 15th league goal of the season, Corcoran picking up possession after Akinade's run was blocked and he gave Skowron no chance.
But Pat's led by captain Killian Brennan, kept their heads and stayed in the game with a 65th minute goal from Conan Byrne, again an assist from Barker.
The arrival off the bench of Kurtis Byrne sparked more hope for the Saints but when Fagan spurned an 85th minute chance, hitting the woodwork from close range, it was just not going to go their way, Pats again denied in added time when Bohs defender Warren O'Hora stopped the run of sub Josh O'Hanlon with a fine tackle, Pat's now needing to regroup for Monday's Tallaght test.
BOHEMIANS– Supple; Pender, Byrne, O'Hora, Morris (Casey, 86); Ward (Gannon, 88), Sule, Cornwall, Kavanagh; Corcoran, Akinade (Poynton, 86).
St PATS – Skowron; Barker (J O'Hanlon, 83), Peers, Balk, Desmond; Brennan, Garvan (Lunney, 80), Dennehy (K Byrne, 71); C Byrne, Fagan, Kelly,.
REF – B Connolly (Dublin)