Bohemians moved back to the top of the Premier Division with a convincing three nil victory over local rivals St Patrick's Athletic at Dalymount Park on Saturday night.
Following a scoreless first half, Glen Crowe fired the Gypsies ahead on 47 minutes with his first goal of the season. The game was then all but ended as a contest on the hour mark when Pat's had Dave Partridge sent-off for swearing at an official. Ten minutes later, on-loan Celtic winger Graham Carey added a second for Bohs before Jason Byrne grabbed another 13 minutes from time.
The win leaves Bohs two points clear of Derry City at the top of the table, while the Saints now languish seven points behind their Dublin rivals with their title hopes hanging by a thread.
Bohs made just one change to the side which won away at Galway in midweek with Joseph Ndo coming in to replace Killian Brennan who dropped to the bench.
Saints manager Jeff Kenna made no less than five changes following their 3-0 trashing at the hands of Derry, with Steven Maher, Ryan Guy, Alan Cawley, Andy Haran and Enda Stephens all coming in. Pat's were also forced to make a change to their subs lineup prior to kick-off after Glen Fitzpatrick collapsed during his warm up. John Lester replaced him on the bench.
Following Derry's defeat at home to Sligo Rovers, Bohs knew that victory would take them back to the Premier Division summit. However, it was Pat's who looked liveliest in the opening minutes and Guy should perhaps have done better when he blasted an angled shot over from the corner of the six-yard box on nine minutes. Cawley then dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area moments later.
Bohs were seeing plenty of possession but were getting little joy down the flanks. Their best chance of the opening quarter hour came when Jason McGuinness headed Carey's curling free-kick from the left narrowly wide. Bohs lack of creativity prompted manager Pat Fenlon to switch his two wingers with Carey moving to the right and Ndo switching to the left. The change almost paid instant dividends. Ndo's persistance down the left caused confusion in the Pat's defence and allowed Crowe to get in behind, but he attempted an audacious chip over Gary Rogers from 18-yards which sailed harmlessly over.
Bohs started to dominate possession, although Pat's continued to threaten on the counter attack and Damien Lynch should perhaps have done better with a close range header on 26 minutes which he directed straight at Brian Murphy in the Bohs goal.
A neat one-two between Brian Shelley and Ndo, who had returned to the right flank, allowed the former Drogheda defender to skip to the by-line. He cut the ball back superbly to the penalty spot but there was nobody there to convert.
Owen Heary then passed up a glorious chance to put the home side ahead on 36 minutes. The Pat's defence failed to properly clear a Paul Keegan corner and the ball broke to Heary 12-yards out, but he went for placement rather than power and Jason Gavin blocked his shot on the line.
There were to be few other chances in the remainder of the opening period, but it only took Bohs three second half minutes to grab the lead, with Crowe heading home Glen Cronin's cross from the right. Byrne passed up a good chance to double their advantage on 51 minutes when he shot with his back to goal from seven yards. Bohs were then dealt a blow two minutes later when Mark Rossiter was forced off with what looked to be a hamstring injury.
Pat's looked for a way back into the game, but their chances were all but ended on the hour mark when Dave Partridge was given his marching orders for foul and abusive language. Referee Dave McKeown initially let play continue, but his linesman flagged having been subjected to some rather colourful language from from Partridge and the player was duly shown a straight red.
Kenna brought on Jamie Harris and Stuart Byrne in a bid to shore up their back-line, but Bohs, with their numerical advantage, were now pouring forward at every opportunity. There was little surprise when they doubled their advantage on 70 minutes through youngster Carey. He latched on to Crowe's neat flick-on and left Jason Gavin lying flat on the floor on the edge of the area before drilling the ball emphatically past Pat's 'keeper Gary Rogers for his first competitive goal for the Dublin club.
Jason Byrne then made the three points completely safe on 77 minutes with his fifth goal of the campaign following a sweet move. the excellent Keegan collected a neat back-heel from Ndo midway inside the Pat's half and showed great vision to play in Byrne who finished low to Rogers' right.
Fenlon introduced Killian Brennan late on and he almost added a fourth when he latched on to a slack back-pass before skipping past the out-rushing Rogers, but the angle was too tight and his shot trundled across the goal-line and just the wrong side of the post. Brennan then turned provider for fellow substitute Conor Powell, but the Ireland under-21 international shot over from 16-yards following a powerful run into the area.
Bohemians: Brian Murphy; Owen Heary, Jason McGuinness, Brian Shelley, Mark Rossiter (Conor Powell 53); Graham Carey (Anthony Murphy 83), Paul Keegan, Glenn Cronin, Joseph Ndo; Jason Byrne, Glen Crowe (Killian Brennan 76).
Subs not used: Matt Gregg (gk), Ken Oman.
St Patrick's Athletic: Gary Rogers; Damien Lynch, Dave Partridge, Jason Gavin, Enda Stevens; Ryan Guy, Steven Maher (Stuart Byrne, 65), Alan Cawley, Darragh Ryan, Mark; Quigley, Andy Haran (Jamie Harris 64).
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke (gk), John Lester, Kyle Moran.
Referee: Dave McKeon
Extratime.ie man of the match: Paul Keegan (Bohemians).