Tuesday 20 August 2019

Talbot stands tall to deny Blues the spoils

Bohemians 0-0 Waterford

Waterford's Ismahil Akinade in action against Conor Levingston of Bohemians. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Waterford's Ismahil Akinade in action against Conor Levingston of Bohemians. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

From the elation of a win away to the league leaders to a scoreless draw at home, Bohemians ran through the emotions of the football world this week as an under-strength Gypsies side had to settle for a point against Waterford.

And it could have been a lot worse for Bohs as they needed goalkeeper James Talbot to save them a couple of times, this clean sheet, his 10th in 13 league games, one of the more hard-earned as Waterford, inspired by their sublime winger Zak Elbouzedi tried to nick a win at Dalymount Park.

Ryan Graydon of Bohemians reacts to a missed chance. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ryan Graydon of Bohemians reacts to a missed chance. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

With a nod towards a fixture list that has his side playing three games in six days, Bohs boss Keith Long made eight changes to the team which won away to Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday night, teenagers Andy Lyons and Ali Reghba coming into the team while Ryan Swan made only his second league start for the Gypsies.

And Bohs were willing to take on a more experienced Blues outfit, good work early on from Ryan Graydon teeing up a chance, eventually, for Swan, who headed wide.

On 22 minutes, Swan popped up again, the chance set up by Keith Ward and Waterford needed goalkeeper Matt Connor to clear the danger.

Around the half-hour mark, Waterford began to take a foothold in the game, a cross from tricky winger Zak Elbouzedi on 29 minutes causing panic in the home defence until Talbot cleared.

Waterford manager Alan Reynolds. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Waterford manager Alan Reynolds. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Just after that Talbot was needed again, getting his fingertips to a well-struck effort from former Bohs man JJ Lunney.

Talbot was called upon again in the 32nd minute, Izzy Akinade with the shot from a pass by Bastien Hery, Bohs by now with little in the way of a goal threat, though Waterford did need defender Maxi Kougoun to shackle Swan just before the break.

Already on a three-game unbeaten run and looking comfortable away from home, Waterford's aim in the second half was to see if they could turn the screw and maybe nick an away win.

They were the more dominant side in the early stages of the second half, Talbot on duty on 53 minutes to keep out a dangerous effort from defender Rory Feely.

Wrestle

Bohs needed something different to wrestle back control of the game and manager Long made a double change on the hour, springing Dinny Corcoran and Daniel Mandroiu from the bench, Corcoran almost making an instant impact with a shot from Andy Lyons' cross.

But even with the addition of fresh legs, Bohs lacked the punch needed to cause Waterford too much trouble.

Matt Connor didn't have a lot to do in the Waterford goal, though he did well to punch clear a Keith Ward corner kick on 73 minutes.

Left-back Paddy Kirk went on a run and fired in a shot on 83 minutes, the effort well-struck but off target.

Just after that the Blues needed a stiff challenge from captain Damien Delaney to stop the run of Mandroiu, while an injury-time free-kick by Ward was a wasted opportunity.

BOHEMIANS - Talbot; Lyons, Barry, Finnerty, Kirk; Levingston, McCourt; Reghba (Corcoran 60), Ward, Graydon (Mandroiu 60); Swan.

WATERFORD - Connor; Feely, Kougoun, Delaney, Simpson; Lunney, Duggan; Akinade, Hery, Elbouzedi; Drinan.

REF - Graham Kelly

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