Keith Buckley’s controversial red card ensured referee Padraig Sutton was a despised figure at Dalymount Park on Friday night, as Derry earned a 2-0 win thanks to Daniel Lafferty’s excellent headed goal in first half injury time and James McClean’s similarly impressive winner just after the break. Killian Brennan missed a penalty late on as Bohemians lost out in a bitter match.
Buckley’s red card came after the linesperson adjudged the midfielder to have gone in hard for a 50/50 on the edge of the Derry area. Before Sutton could halt the game for the free, Buckley had already gone in hard again, this time on Daniel Lafferty, which surely persuaded the referee to give a straight red – Bohs boss Pat Fenlon was also sent off exiting the pitch at half time.
The crowd incensed, Sutton then awarded a very questionable free against Owen Heary inside the Bohs half. From Kevin Deery’s resulting cross, Lafferty popped up at the back post to head in the opener. Worse was to come after the break as James McClean coolly slotted in the winner after very nice work from Eamon Zayed.
Bohs had started well and dominated much of the first half, Killian Brennan’s set pieces offering a real threat on occasion. After 20 minutes, one of the midfielder’s set pieces resulted in Bohs’ best chance of the half. Blocked initially, Brennan’s second attempted cross found Owen Heary at the back post. The veteran defender’s header across goal was a good one, Ger Doherty forced to palm it away, but Keith Buckley ran on to it and smacked an effort that was deflected just wide.
Derry were struggling and just could not get control of the ball, as Pat Fenlon’s men continued to press and win free kicks in dangerous areas.
But all that was to change after 40 minutes when the crowd looked on in shock after Sutton raised the red card to Buckley. In truth, tackles had been getting rougher ever since Anto Flood was booked 20 minutes earlier – Gareth McGlynn and James Greacen also earned yellows – but Buckley’s initial tackle and subsequent lunge changed the course of the game.
A short scuffle ensued on the halfway line as Sutton’s fragile grip on the game vanished, with both Eamon Zayed and Liam Burns going in the book, as well as Fenlon himself getting sent off as the sides walked off at the break.
Derry, suddenly looking confident, immediately went for the kill. Kevin Deery’s freekick was a good one, but Daniel Lafferty’s header was excellent, stunning the Gypsies’ support just before the break.
James McClean, who played the visiting villain in the first half with complaints and fouls in front of the Bohs crowd, was the man who struck just after the break. Eamon Zayed had barely touched the ball in the first 45 minutes, but he played the winger in behind the defence to calmly slot the ball past Chris O’Connor. It was a fine move and another excellent goal for Derry but, not one to endear himself to the Phibsboro faithful, McClean celebrated by taunting the fans and rightly received a yellow card.
Bohs were up against it, and Derry knew it. The visitors calmly played out the next ten minutes, ensuring no more crazy scenes to keep their scoreline entact. Bohs battled well, and continued to work for free kicks in dangerous areas, but in truth Derry were cruising.
As the clock ticked on Bohs looked tired and Derry looked casual. Brennan and Heary maintained a high tempo but it was an impossible task. The extra man allowed the entire Derry midfield an awful lot more time, with the back four now pushing higher and higher up the park.
Padraig Sutton did try to make a late amends for his decisions, by awarding Bohs a very generous penalty with less than ten minutes remaining. Killian Brennan was fouled, although it was a very slight nudge which saw the midfielder hit the ground, but Sutton duly pointed to the spot. Brennan stepped up, chipped his effort onto the crossbar, Anto Flood followed up with his own header hitting the bar, before Robert Bayly’s effort from the edge of the area was easily caught by Ger Doherty.
Bohemians: Chris O’Connor; Owen Heary, Ollie Cahill (Lee Dixon 72), Laim Burns, Aidan Price (Kevin Feely 82); Ger O’Brien, Keith Buckley, Robert Bayly, Killian Brennan; Anto Flood, Stephen Traynor.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Gary Burke, Daniel Joyce, Chris Forrester, David Lodola.
Bookings: A Flood (19), L Burns (44).
Sent Off: K Buckley (43).
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Eddie McCallion, Stewart Greacen, Shane McEleney, Danny Lafferty; Kevin Deery, Pat McEleney (David McDaid 83), James McClean (Stephen McLaughlin 90), Gareth McGlynn, Ruaidhri Higgins; Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Eugene Ferry, Emmet Friars, Ryan McBride, Thomas McBride, Michael McCrudden.
Bookings: S Greacen (22), G McGlynn (28), E Zayed (44), J McClean (48), R Higgins (71).
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
Extratime Man of the Match: Kevin Deery.