Macdara Ferris reports from Dalymount Park
Derry City made it ten wins in a row over Bohemians with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 victory in Dalymount on Friday evening.
First half goals from Rory Hale, who got his first goal for the club, and Rory Patterson were the difference on the night when the Candystripes dominated even if a late JJ Lunney goal to cause them a bit of concern at the death.
It was desperatly dour affair at Dalymount Park until the game was finally lit up midway through the half with a superb three-man move for Derry City which was finished by the elder Hale.
Having struggled to break down the deep lying Bohs defence, Derry doubled their lead three minutes later to take a 2-0 lead that seemed unlikely for much of the half.
The visitors had seen plenty of the ball in the opening period with Aaron McEneff looking to unlock the Bohs defence.
His was the first shot in anger in the game after just five minutes. The ball flew over Shane Supple, who had been part of the Republic of Ireland squad over the last fortnight, and over his crossbar.
Ahead of kick off, sprinklers had been out on the Dalymount pitch but the ball tended to bobble on the pitch when it wasn’t up in the air. Keith Ward, who was playing off Dinny Corcoran, tried to drop into areas of space and create something for the home side but hadn’t much luck.
With so little goalmouth action, it was a delightful opening goal on 22 minutes. Ronan Hale delicatly controlled a long high ball out from the back to send it inside to McEneff.
His quick turn caught out the Bohs defence as did his through ball to Rory Hale who timed his run from central midfield beautifully.
Supple got a touch on the shot but couldn’t prevent him scoring and he couldn’t do much more three minutes later as Patterson was given way too much room at the back post.
Bohs had cleared a Candystripes corner but it fell to Rory Hale. His shot was going wide of the goal but went straight to Patterson who had time to take a touch and sweep it home to double the lead.
The home supporters thought referee Graham Kelly was pointing to the spot seven minutes from the break when Eoghan Stokes went down after a good run.
However he went down too easily and picked up a yellow card rather than a penalty.
Bohs captain Derek Pender probably went closest for Bohs in the first half but his injury-time shot cleared the crossbar without troubling Ger Doherty.
Two down at the break, Keith Long made a switch to take off the ineffectual Paddy Kavanagh and bringing on Kevin Devaney.
Derry looked to take the pace out of the game as they sought to protect their two-goal cushion – Jack Doyle went in the referee’s book for a spot of time wasting.
Ian Morris had a great chance to at least cut the deficit in half when Ward’s inswinging free kick found his head but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
At the other end and either side of the hour mark, Derry went close to claiming their third goal.
Curtis cut inside Derek Pender requiring Supple to gather his shot at the second attempt while McEneff did likewise but his effort took flight over the Bohs crossbar.
Long’s last throw of the dice was to bring on Danny Grant in place of Corcoran.
The teenager had sat his Leaving Cert maths paper that afternoon but even with the addition of Grant’s extra pace, Bohs failed to pressurise Derry until very late in the game.
Ronan Hale had a shot that needed Supple to bat it back out with ten minutes to go but Bohs night was summed up when the normally reliable Dylan Watts could only hit fresh air with the goal at his mercy eight minutes from time.
There was some late drama though as substitute JJ Lunney swept home a tidy left foot finish four minutes from time – their first shot on target in the game.
It roused the Dalymount Park crowd from their slumber – and Watts went close with a free kick – but there was to be no further cheers for the home side.
Kenny Shiels has now won every single game he's played against Bohs – nine in the league and one in the FAI Cup – but it was a badly needed win for his team with European qualification in mind.
It gave them only their second league win in nine matches and kept them in fourth place.
After the final whistle Ronan Curtis enjoyed celebrating the win maybe a bit too much - on what was his final appearance for City before his move to Portsmouth – and some some of the Bohs players took offence, causing some pushing and shoving at the tunnel.
The defeat means Keith Long’s men are now without a win in four with one match left before the mid season break.
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Derek Pender, Rob Cornwall, Ian Morris, Paddy Kirk; Paddy Kavanagh (Kevin Devaney h/t), Oscar Brennan, Dylan Watts, Eoghan Stokes; Keith Ward (JJ Lunney 67), Dinny Corcoran (Danny Grant 73).
Subs not used: Sean Bohan (gk), Dan Byrne, Dan Casey, Andy Lyons.
Booked: Eoghan Stokes (38), Derek Pender (84)
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Jamie McDonagh, Conor McDermott, Eoin Toal, Jack Doyle; Darren Cole; Aaron McEneff, Rory Hale (Nicky Low 71); Ronan Hale, Rory Patterson (Cathal Farren 90+5), Ronan Curtis.
Subs not used: Eric Grimes (gk), Gavin Peers, Niall Logue, Ben Doherty, Aidy Delap.
Booked: Jack Doyle (58), Ronan Curtis (90+4)
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Attendance: 1,722 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Aaron McEneff (Derry City).