Bohemians produced a stunning comeback on Monday night to come back from two goals down and win 3-2 against ten man Sligo Rovers in Dalymount Park in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.
Kieran Sadlier had given Sligo an early lead before being reduced to men after Gavin Peers saw red after 21 minutes. Despite this Liam Martin doubled Sligo’s advantage before Ismahil Akinade, Kurtis Byrne and Stephen Best scored to produce a memorable comeback for the home side.
Sligo dominated early proceedings and after Pat McCann nearly benefited from sloppy defending at the heart of the defence five minutes in, Kieran Sadlier found room at the edge of the Bohs box. Dean Delaney was helpless as he could only get a hand to Sadlier’s shot and Sligo were in front early on.
Bohs were taken aback by their slow start and despite trying force some momentum down the Sligo right with Lorcan Fitzgerald getting forward, they continued to struggle to create anything. The Bohs defender crossing for a weak Akinade header was the best they could manage in the opening 15 minutes.
Despite their strong start though, Sligo were also finding it hard to capitalize on their early goal. A twentieth minute shot from Sadlier that was speculative at best was their only attack of note.
A moment of real controversy followed though as Gavin Peers saw red as Sligo were reduced to ten men. Akinade received the ball down the left and proceeded to skip past Peers only to be taken down by the Sligo defender. The referee judged Peers to be the last man and he brandished the red card after much deliberation.
The sending off could have been deemed to be a bit harsh considering Akinade was heading away from goal but Sligo weren’t phased and were two up five minutes later.
After a brief period of Bohs pressure Sligo broke and Liam Martin benefited from a loose ball in the Bohs box and despite the best efforts of Fitzgerald attempting to clear off the line, Martin’s deflected shot stumbled over the line.
Sligo were nearly three up on 27 minutes when Achille Campion had a low shot inside the box saved from Delaney following a bizarre period of pressure following Peers’ sending off.
With the game approaching half-time, Bohs were looking extremely disjointed until a break in play saw Roberto Lopes waltz forward past the Sligo defence and saw his well-hit effort saved well by Michael Schlingermann but the rebound fell to Ismahil Akinade, who rifled home on 43 minutes.
Bohs started the second half with intent and after a series of corners, Derek Pender received the ball 25 yards out and had a beautiful first time effort sail just over the bar.
Derek Pender was involved again on the 51 minute mark as he broke forward up the right wing and sent in a perfect cross only for Akinade to get under his header which hit the top of the Schlingermann’s goal.
Sligo were certainly settling into protecting their lead, but mustered up a chance to extend their lead before the hour mark when Campion saw a weak effort from eight yards out saved easily by Delaney.
It was then Bohs chance to miss a guilt-edged chance two minutes later when Pender got to the bye line and crossed in for an unmarked Lopes who could only head straight at Schlingermann from four yards out.
With the man advantage, Bohs were doing all the running as the game approached the 70th minute mark but they were finding tough to break down a resilient Rovers. Substitute Dean O’Halloran had an acrobatic attempt go wide before they missed a huge chance to go level.
Akinade went on an inspired run breaking into the box down left before having a shot deflected from six yards out bounce to Byrne who had his shot blocked on the line from Jimmy Keohane. Sligo were just about hanging onto their one goal advantage.
The pressure was mounting on the Sligo defence and with ten minutes to go, two chances were spurned by Bohs. First, Mark Quigley found some room just inside the box but saw his shot canon off a Sligo defender before Akinade crossed for Keith Buckley who could only hit his volley wide.
There was brief respite for the Sligo defence as substitute Cretaro tried an audacious effort from 35 yards that just breezed past the upright of Delaney’s goal.
When all seemed lost for Bohs, Pat McCann cynically fouled Jake Kelly just outside the box with three minutes to go. Byrne stepped up and curled a beautifully hit free into the top corner.
With the game hitting injury time Bohs completed a remarkable comeback after Byrne won a corner from another excellent free kick. Akiande headed back across goal to Stephen Best who hammered in the winner to grab the three points for the home side.
Bohemians: Dean Delaney, Derek Pender, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Roberto Lopes, Derek Prendergast (Mark Quigley, 71), Eoin Wearen, Keith Buckley, Jake Kelly (Dean O’Halloran 62), Stephen Best, Paddy Kavanagh (Kurtis Byrne 55), Ismahil Akinade
Subs Not Used: Dan Byrne, Marco Chindea, Ian Morris, Luca Gratzer
Booked: Stephen Best (37)
Sligo Rovers: Michael Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Leahy, Pat McCann, Achille Campion (Raffaele Cretaro 78), Craig Roddan , Kieran Sadlier (Gary Boylan 23), Jimmy Keohane, Daniel Kearns, Liam Martin, Gavin Peers
Subs Not Used: Philip Roberts, Ciaran Nugent, John Russell, Paul Doyle, Michael Place
Booked: Craig Roddan (76), Pat McCann (87)
Red Card: Gavin Peers (21),
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ismahil Akinade (Bohemians)