A dramatic second half led to Bohemians leaving the Showgrounds on Friday evening with all three points as Stephen Traynor and Anto Flood cancelled out Eoin Doyle’s early first half goal. An excellent game of football in front of an eccentric crowd lived up to all expectations.
Sligo Rovers started the game strongly, applying pressure from the off-set. An early chance was unsuccessful as Aaron Greene’s shot was saved by Chris O’Connor. A Richie Ryan corner was flicked on by the head of Jason McGuinness but the ball slipped just over the bar.
An attacking movement from the Gypsies almost gave them the lead in the sixth minute. The move began when Stephen Traynor found Killian Brennan, he in turn set up Anto Flood whose shot beat Brendan Clarke but landed just wide of the far post.
Sligo Rovers took the lead in the 13th minute with a fine finish from Eoin Doyle. Joseph Ndo played it into Greene who tried to knock the ball past Robert Bayly. The ball took an unfortunate bounce off Bayly and into the path of Doyle who swung the ball into the net with a left footed shot. The bit o’red came close to a second soon after when a scramble in the Bohs box allowed John Dillon and Eoin Doyle to have a go but the ball was cleared.
Sligo came close once again in the 16th minute with Alan Keane, moving down the right, played the ball to Eoin Doyle whose header beat O’Connor in the Bohs goal but hit the near post. Alan Keane then broke forward once again, passing to John Russell, but John Dillon’s shot hit the post.
Another Alan Keane movement was knocked just wide by an Eoin Doyle volley before Bohemians had a rare chance just before half time. But Anto Flood’s powerful shot was easily saved by Brendan Clarke in the Sligo Rovers goal. The Barcelona-esque football was a joy to watch with both sides playing an impressive passing game.
However, the second half was a different story. Pat Fenlon’s half time team talk seemed to have an effect on the team and youngster Stephen Traynor had the first chance of the half but Clarke comfortably saved his effort. Gypsies' captain Owen Heary was then allowed to roll the ball to Anto Flood whose shot went just wide of the Sligo goal. At the other end Alan Keane once again threatened the Bohs defence when he crossed in for Greene whose shot was just wide of O’Connor’s post.
The 56th minute lead to a rare mistake in the Sligo defence. A mix up between Gavin Peers and Richie Ryan fed the ball to Traynor who hit the ball into the Sligo goals. Bohs then doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Killian Brennan’s strong 40 yard free-kick was knocked into the path of Anto Flood by Brendan Clarke and the striker flicked the ball into the goal.
Two chances for Bohs led to two goals. There were shouts for a Bohs penalty in the 79th minute after Burke went down easily in the box but referee Damien Hancock waved play on. Sligo were unable to take any chances after the Bohs goals and were being taken off the ball very easily.
Sligo Rovers: Brendan Clarke; Alan Keane, Iarfhlaith Davoren, Gavin Peers, Jason McGuinness; Aaron Greene (Daryl Horgan, 69) John Dillon (Matthew Blinkhorn, 79) Richie Ryan, Joseph Ndo, John Russell (Raffaele Cretaro, 64); Eoin Doyle.
Subs not used: Ciaran Kelly, Danny Ventre, Derek Foran, Mark McGoldrick.
Bookings: J McGuinness (87), D Horgan (92).
Bohemians: Chris O’Connor; Owen Heary, Ollie Cahill (Gary Burke, 75) Liam Burns, Aiden Price; Ger O’Brien, Keith Buckley, Robert Bayly, Killian Brennan; Anto Flood, Stephen Traynor.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Lee Dixon, Christopher Forrester, Karl Somers, Kevin Feely, David Lodola.
Bookings: L Burns (82).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
Extratime Man of the Match: Anto Flood – he had an excellent second half and was always threatening.