Two goals in the final ten minutes stole a 3-1 victory for Bohemians at Oriel Park against what will be a disappointed Dundalk side.
The home side looked to be on top but two stunning strikes, the first from Man of The Match Ger O’Brien and the other from substitute Anto Flood, secured an important three points for Pat Fenlon’s men.
Dundalk were well on top for the first five minutes with ex-Bohemians man, Mark Quigley smashing a free kick against the wall and Keith Ward almost sneaking another free in at the near post with a curling effort which had Barry Murphy scrambling in the away goal. However, completely against the run of play Bohs took the lead when Christy Fagan continued his impressive run of form with a header on six minutes after Aiden Price knocked the ball towards the back post for the striker to nod home after a good delivery from Killian Brennan’s corner.
Another great opportunity for the Gypsies arose after ten minutes when a scramble in the Dundalk box allowed the ball to drop to Killian Brennan. He hit a fierce volley but Dean Bennett dove bravely in to block the shot amidst cries of handball from the Bohemians winger. Brennan looked very much a senior player for Bohs and was shouting instructions at all times. He tried his luck again moments later, this time from distance but the attempt trickled well wide.
Bohs were in the middle of a good spell and on 14 minutes Stephen Traynor headed a long ball on for Fagan to chase who just about managed to squeeze in a shot but Peter Cherrie gathered easily. From then on it was all Dundalk in the first half, Ward let fly with a driven shot after a short throw which almost caught out Barry Murphy who was anticipating the cross. On 23 minutes Dundalk had a loud shout for a penalty waved away after the ball bounced around the body of Price and appeared to hit his hand. Referee Tom Connolly wasn’t the most popular man in Dundalk as he allowed countless rough challenges by Liam Burns on Mark Griffin and Quigley go unpunished.
The remaining twenty minutes of the first half were filled with long balls by Bohs up towards Fagan who did his best to hold the ball up and Dundalk answered this with more aimless long balls of their own which were easily dealt with by the towering Bohemians defenders.
The home team came out much more determined in the second half and almost equalised within five minutes of the restart. Firstly, Quigley, who was the main source of Dundalk attacks, let fly with a dipping half volley from distance which almost nestled in the top corner. Then, Ross Gaynor whipped in a dangerous free which was headed towards his own goal by Ger O’Brien but Murphy pulled off a fantastic save to tip the ball over.
The Lilywhites ended their search for a goal on 61 minutes when Gaynor sent in another stinging cross which looked to ricochet off Aiden Price and Keith Ward, eventually ending up in the Bohs net. The Oriel Park home crowd burst into life and there were roars for another penalty when Burns appeared to bundle over Griffin in the box but once again ignored by the referee. As we approached the final ten minutes, Dundalk looked the likelier side to snatch a win but O’Brien scored an exceptional goal to stun the home crowd. The Bohs defender picked up the ball in midfield strode forward with ease and placed his right-footed shot perfectly into the bottom corner beyond Cherrie’s hopeless dive.
Dundalk still looked as if they might be able to find a late goal to rescue a point but the impressive Anto Flood who replaced the yellow-carded Keith Buckely had other ideas. With three minutes to go, the ball found itself at Flood’s feet who danced around a few Dundalk defenders and rolled the ball into the same corner from outside box. Cue a flood of frustrated home fans heading home early.
Stephen Maher came on for Dean Bennett in the closing seconds for Dundalk but it was too little too late to make any difference.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie (GK); Simon Madden, Dean Bennett (Stephen Maher, 89), Shane Guthrie, Nathan Murphy; Daniel Kearns, Keith Ward, Greg Bolger, Ross Gaynor; Mark Griffin, Mark Quigley.
Subs not used: Paul Murphy (GK), Johnny Breen, Chris Kerr, Philip Duffy.
Bookings: M Quigley (68).
Bohemians: Barry Murphy (GK); Ger O’Brien, Liam Burns, Aiden Price, Ollie Cahill; Keith Buckley (Anto Flood, 58), Robert Bayly, Stephen Traynor, Glenn Cronin (Steven Hurley, 89), Killian Brennan; Christy Fagan (Aidan Downes, 76).
Subs not used: Craig Sexton (GK), Christopher Forrester, Roberto Lopez, Kevin Feely.
Bookings: K Buckley (53), G O'Brien (71).
Referee: Tom Connolly.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ger O’Brien (Bohemians). He had a very solid game and capped the performance with a fine goal.