St. Patrick’s Athletic rose to the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division after a superb attacking display helped them seal an emphatic 2-0 win over Bohemians in Dalymount Park on Friday night.
Two goals in the space of three minutes midway through the first half put paid to the home sides’ hopes and the youthful Bohs side never looked like recovering.
Christy Fagan, his confidence sky-high after his brace in Tolka Park last week, slipped home the opener after a delightful through ball from the imperious Greg Bolger. Bolger’s through pass split the Bohs defence and Fagan stayed cool to slide the ball between the legs of the advancing Dean Delany.
Two minutes later things got worse. Chris Forrester showed lovely vision in the middle of the park to spread the ball wide to the advanced full back Ian Bermingham. The defender cut inside whacking the ball goal wards. The shot struck the unfortunate full back Derek Pender on the arm and referee Alan Kelly blew for a spot kick. Killian Brennan stepped forward blasting the ball high into the top left hand corner sending Delany the wrong way.
Pat’s even had chances to extend that lead before half-time. Fagan had an almost identical chance to the one he scored from on 37 minutes (albeit from perhaps a slightly tighter angle) however on this occasion he just slid his shot just wide of the far post.
And just before the break, Delany had to be alert to make a fine stop from Forrester's rasping low shot from the edge of the box.
The half-time whistle couldn’t come quickly enough for the home side and their only real chance of the opening 45 came from a Luke Byrne header just before Fagan opened the scoring.
Bohs were slightly more energetic in the second half but their attacking play was far too hesitant and they carved out little in the way of clear-cut chances.
Pat’s, on the other hand, were no less inventive than they were in the first half. The neat inter-play involving Forrester and Russell, Fagan and Byrne was a delight to behold at times.
First, some industrious work down the left flank from Killian Brennan created a chance for Fagan whose first time shot was just a fraction to high.
Killian Brennan, in an effort reminiscent of his hit last week which led to Chris Forrester’s goal against Shelbourne, twanged the cross-bar direct from a corner. On the 69th minute, John Russell picked up the ball wide on the right after a thrown in, swivelled and jinked past a couple of defenders but his shot was eventually forced out for a corner.
Moments later, Bolger released Forrester down the left. The winger menacingly advanced on the penalty area, rounded Pender, but his shot from a tight angle flashed across the face of the goal ultimately not even going out for a goal kick.
Late on, Conan Byrne, another star on the night, improvised an audacious little dink which had Delany pedalling backwards to tip over the crossbar.
Delany had been booked on the 71st after running forty yards out of his goal to remonstrate with the referee after Pat’s full-back Ian Bermingham had been booked for a late challenge.
Bohs were tenacious and willing and didn’t let their heads drop but ultimately they lacked composure in the final third and at the back they were cut open on too many occasions.
At the full-time whistle the Pat’s players graciously saluted their large and vocal following in the Des Kelly Stand who serenaded all around Dalymount with a rousing rendition of ‘We are top of the League.’
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Dave Mulcahy, Luke Byrne, Ciaran Nangle (Kevin O’Leary 66); Andy Mulligan (Karl Moore 83), Stephen Traynor (Roberto Lopes 46) Shane Murray, Ryan McEvoy; Chris Lyons, Dave Scully.
Subs not used: Greg Murray, Kevin Devaney, Michael Barker.
Booked: Delany (71), Scully (72), O’Leary (90).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O’Brien, Kenny Browne (Aidan Price 77), Conor Kenna, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, Greg Bolger, Killian Brennan, Chris Forrester; John Russell, Christy Fagan (Anto Flood 86)
Subs not used: Sean Gannon, Jake Kelly, Jake Carroll, Shane McFaul, Dave Ryan.
Booked: Bermingham (71).
Referee: Alan Kelly
Extra-Time Man of the Match: A host of candidates put their hands up for this award but ultimately it goes to Greg Bolger (St Patrick's Ath) who delivered another authoritative performance in midfield for the Inchicore side.