It was a second win in a row for Bohemians as Aaron Callaghan’s men collected all three points in the Belfield Bowl on Friday night. With a combined six forwards starting the game, there was always going to be goals but Bohs strikes in each half were enough to give the Gypsies the victory over a spirited UCD who scored a late penalty courtesy of Graham Rusk.
Callaghan’s men started with the same 343 formation that beat Cork CIty last week, while Martin Russell went with a 433 formation. The end product was an open, end-to-end game that could have ultimately gone either way.
Both sides had early half chances, but it was the away team who found the net first eight minutes in. Luke Byrne controlled the ball as he bombed down the Bohemians left wing. He released Dinny Corcoran out wide left whose cross was only half cleared by David O’Connor. Davy Byrne collected the ball with his back to goal, and he laid off to Keith Ward at the edge of the box. The former UCD midfielder took a touch, before looping a shot over McGinley to send the sizeable away support into raptures.
UCD almost found the perfect reply on 12 minutes when Cillian Morrison found himself in behind the Bohs back three. He let fly with a sweet right footed volley only to see his effort come back off the post with McNulty beaten.
Fresh from his goalscoring exploits last week, Corcoran was playing with a sense of confidence that was perhaps missing in earlier games this season. A half-volley was sent wide after 18 minutes, before he spotted McGinley off his line and attempted an audacious chip only to see it drift just over after 26 minutes.
Graham Rusk was lively for UCD as they pressed for an equaliser, but the intensity of the game couldn’t be sustained and the game petered out towards half time.
Bohemians started the second half as they started the first – with an early goal. Byrne broke down the left flank and fed Corcoran at the edge of the UCD box. The number 24 took a touch before stroking the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal past a hapless McGinley.
Despite being two goals behind UCD didn’t let their heads drop and Paul O’Conor in particular was showing neat touches all night, looking very assured in possession.
For Bohemians, Karl Moore was spraying passes for fun, finding his teammates at any distance he wished. On 67 minutes, he played a stunning crossfield pass to Luke Byrne who was advancing up the left. The Bohemians U19 player overhit his cross, only for Corcoran to somehow keep it in play. McGinley closed him down and the Bohs striker took him out of the play with a squared ball into the box. The Gypsies had players coming into the box, but UCD were alert and saved their keeper’s blushes.
UCD hit the frame of the goal again in the 78th minute – this time it was Chris Lyons’ turn. Good attacking play from the team in light blue saw the ball rolled out to Lyons who was one on one with McNulty from an angle. A fierce shot was unleashed only to see the crossbar come to the away team’s rescue. Bohemians failed to clear and it came to O’Conor who was arriving late into the box, but the UCD captain skied his effort over the bar.
The home side got the goal their play deserved in the 84th minute. Robbie Benson received it in the box, and managed to get his toe to the ball seconds before Derek Pender’s challenge. The substitute was heading away from danger, but he was nonetheless caught by Pender. Graham Rusk stepped up to take the penalty, and he sent McNulty the wrong way for what was his fourth goal of the season – all of which have come from penalties.
The students pressed for an equaliser but couldn’t find the breakthrough and Bohemians to a man defended like their lives depended on it as they held out for a victory that left a very evident smile on their manager’s face.
Martin Russell will have to regroup his players and prepare for a visit to Inchicore to play St Pats next Friday night, while Bohemians will entertain bottom of the table Monaghan United at Dalymount.
UCD: Mark McGinley; Mark Langtry, Hugh Douglas, David O’Connor, Ciaran Nangle; Paul O’Conor, Paul Corry, Daniel Ledwith; Cillian Morrison (Robbie Benson 60), Graham Rusk, Chris Lyons.
Subs not used: Niall Corbett, Barry McCabe, Samir Belhout, Dean Clarke, Gary Burke, James Kavanagh.
Bookings: D O’Connor (14), Douglas (24).
Bohemians: Andy McNulty; Owen Heary, Dave Mulcahy, Evan McMillan; Derek Pender, Adam Martin, Keith Ward (Stephen Traynor 73), Luke Byrne; Karl Moore, Danny Corcroan (Keith Buckley 82), Davy Byrne (Dan Mahon 66).
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Kevin Feely, Andy Mulligan, Ryan McEvoy.
Bookings: Moore (87).
Referee: James McKell.
ExtraTime man of the match: Karl Moore (Bohemians).