Monday 23 October 2017

Wasteful Bohs face tough trip to Iceland

BOHEMIANS 0 THOR AKUREYRI 0

Dwayne Wilson, Bohemians, in action against Atli Albertsson, Thór. UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round First Leg, Bohemians v Thór, Dalymount Park, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Dwayne Wilson, Bohemians, in action against Atli Albertsson, Thór. UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round First Leg, Bohemians v Thór, Dalymount Park, Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

WHILE just up the road a veteran outfit were using all of their years to entertain tens of thousands at the Phoenix Park, a lack of experience was all too evident in Phibsboro last night.

Most of this Bohemians side were either toddlers or not even born when the Stone Roses burst onto the scene in 1989, and their callow nature was plain to see as they lost their way against an Icelandic second division side making a European debut they can be proud of.

Aaron Callaghan's side had first-half chances to take the advantage, but they failed to capitalise and, despite a late rally, they now have it all to do.

They never really looked like conceding an away goal, but against a visiting side who looked shaky at the back, the Dubliners will regret not taking a lead on their long journey to the north of Iceland next Thursday.

The impetus is now with Thor, but Bohs boss Callaghan is not giving up hope of reaching the second qualifying round.

"I think they think they have won it. We've got nothing to lose going over there," Callaghan said. "We are definitely not favourites -- they are favourites. All we can do is go over there and have a go at them.

"We are delighted we didn't concede. That was the first objective -- not to give them an away goal. We probably didn't do enough to score. We had half-chances. But the onus is on them to score now. We caused them problems on set-pieces and I think we can score from a set-piece over there."

With the Bohs side featuring seven European debutants it was unsurprising that they started nervously, but the Gypsies grew into the task against a physical but limited Icelandic team.

Lone striker Dwayne Wilson was foiled by Srdjan Rajkovic after Ryan McEvoy's deep cross had been headed across goal by Keith Buckley.

The winger then had a cross nodded behind by an under-pressure Atli Jens Hannesson and Dave Mulcahy should have scored from McEvoy's corner, somehow missing the target from in front of goal inside the six-yard box.

Having weathered the storm, Thor sought to break out and when they did they looked dangerous as captain Sveinn Elias Jonsson had a shot saved by Andy McNulty.

Bohs thought they had made the breakthrough after a neat passing move saw Ward find Wilson; he in turn fed McMahon, who beat Rajkovic but was adjudged to have used his hand to control the ball.

Escaped

They escaped at the other end when Evan McMillan appeared to handle in the box, but Montenegran referee Jovan Kaludjerovic waved away the furious Icelandic protests.

That seemed to stir Bohs, who again pressed and Luke Byrne's inswinging cross was intended for Wilson. He was beaten to it by Atli Jens Albertsson, whose clearance almost spun into his own net as the sides went in scoreless.

The second half opened cagily and it was Thor who went closest when Johann Helgi Hannesson forced McNulty into a sharp near-post save. Hilmarsson then tested McNulty from long range, before Sigudur Kristjansson was allowed the freedom of the pitch, but his effort from distance was again comfortable for McNulty.

Bohs had plenty of possession, but it wasn't until the 83rd minute that they managed a shot in anger and McEvoy wasn't far away with a 30-yard piledriver that whistled past the post with Rajkovic beaten.

The midfielder was handed a chance when he was fouled by Janez Vrenko but his free-kick was parried by Rajkovic, who pounced on the rebound before Kevin Feely could get there.

Substitute Karl Moore had a chance as Bohs pushed for a late winner, but there would be no goal, and Bohs have it all to do in Iceland.

BOHEMIANS -- McNulty; Heary, McMillan, Feely, Byrne; Buckley, Mulcahy (Traynor 84), McEvoy, Ward, McMahon (Scully 58); Wilson (Moore 76).

THOR AKUREYRI -- Rajkovic; AH Albertsson, AJ Albertsson (Bjornsson 76), Vrenko, Funicello; Hjaltason (A AEvarsson 66), Hjaltalin, Kristjansson; Jonsson, Hannesson (Stromberg 76), Hilmarsson.

REF -- J Kaludjerovic (Montenegro)

Irish Independent

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