Homepage Image courtesy of Eddie Lennon
An extraordinary second half saw Bohemians twice come from behind to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw against Shelbourne at Dalymount Park on Monday night.
As Dublin derbies go this had less at stake than most, with minor miracles needed elsewhere for either side to have any real hope of qualifying for Europe next season. But, with just one point separating the sides in mid table, local pride was always going to be an issue.
It was the home side who created the first hint of a chance with Keith Ward and then Karl Moore picking out runs by Dwayne Wilson in the opening ten minutes, but neither opportunity was developed into a real opportunity.
Former Bohs man Glenn Cronin picked up an yellow card, despite the game lacking any real malice in its early stages, and Bohemians continued to probe with Dave Mulcahy turning well onto a pass from Moore before shooting over. But on 24 minutes it was Shels who came closest to opening the scoring.
Barry Clancy picked up the ball to the left of the Bohs goal and hit a cracking shot from 20 yards that swung in and clattered the outside of Andy McNulty’s far post. Eight minutes later and David Cassidy shot straight at McNulty before Cronin played in Kevin Dawson who shot against the feet of the Bohs keeper when through on goal.
But Shelbourne’s burgeoning threat did yield dividends just six minutes before the break when Cassidy went flying under a challenge just inside the Bohs box and, though referee Alan Kelly waved play on, assistant Allen Lynch made the call. Philly Hughes stepped up to drill the penalty low to McNulty’s right and, although the keeper got across to it, the ball had enough power behind it to find the corner of the net.
Three minutes later Cassidy was booked for diving, a charge that the home support felt might have been levelled at him for the penalty, and Cronin was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow right on half time.
It was the home side who finished the stronger, no doubt spurred on by feelings of injustice, and they began the second half in the same mode. Looking to push forward all over the pitch, they now had Dinny Corcoran up front, having replaced Peter McMahon at half time, which allowed Dwayne Wilson to drift into his more familiar wide role.
Nine minutes into the second period Wilson almost had Bohs level, letting loose with a fierce 25 yard effort that turned away from the top corner of the Shelbourne net only at the last moment.
Bohs were the team setting the agenda but Shelbourne were always dangerous on the break. McNulty so nearly fluffed a near post stop from Dawson early in the half and Cassidy was played through by Philip Hughes just after the hour only to run out of space and see his effort smothered by the Bohs keeper.
Paddy Kavanagh, excellent on the right for the visitors, then made an explosive break through the middle, setting up Cassidy who failed to make the most of the opportunity. With passions flaring on both sides any sense of mid table irrelevance had been long been banished when Owen Heary flung over a 77th minute cross that Evan McMillan, who had abandoned defensive duties to seek an equaliser, snuck past Chris Bennion to send the home support wild. It was a deserved leveller but, with just over ten minutes left, there was never a sense that either side would settle for a point.
Bohemians continued to push forwards, just as Shelbourne maintained their focus on taking advantage of any slip ups their hosts might make at the back. With just eight minutes left to play Cassidy played in Kavanagh on the right and his angled shot was parried by McNulty into the path of Kevin Dawson. He made no mistake from eight yards, blasting the ball into the roof of the net, and it seemed as if Alan Mathews men had won it.
But Bohs were not dead yet. Incredibly, just as the game entered added time, Cassidy impeded Kevin Feely and referee Kelly awarded the second penalty of the night. Showing admirable calm, Keith Ward stepped up, sent Bennion the wrong way, and earned the home side a point which will be enjoyed out of all proportion to its value.
Bohemians: Andy McNulty; Owen Heary, Evan McMillan, Kevin Feely, Luke Byrne; Karl Moore (Michael Barker 79), Keith Ward, Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy (Adam Martin 29), Peter McMahon (Dinny Corcoran 46); Dwayne Wilson.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Roberto Lopes, Keith Buckley, Stephen Traynor.
Shelbourne: Chris Bennion; Gareth Matthews, Andy Boyle, Brian Shortall, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Paddy Kavanagh, David Cassidy, Glenn Cronin, Kevin Dawson, Barry Clancy; Philip Hughes.
Subs not used: Dean Delany, Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley, Sean Byrne, Conan Byrne, Paul Byrne.
Bookings: Cronin (14), Cassidy (42), Bennion (59), G Matthews (75), Dawson (85).
Referee: Alan Kelly.
Extratime Man of the Match: David Cassidy (Shelbourne).