Battling Bohemians earned a remarkable 1-1 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on Monday night, despite being reduced to nine men as both Christy Fagan and Liam Burns were sent off.
The frenetic end to this game would have been hard to foresee in the opening moments as both sides took a while to settle into this game. Although Killian Brennan had the first shot in anger, on 11 minutes, it was St Pats who were the first to establish any real sense of control and who went on to create the bulk of the opportunities in the opening half.
Moments after Brennan’s effort from 30 yards had been spilled by Gary Rogers, Anto Murphy beat Glenn Cronin to a fifty-fifty ball in central midfield and strode forward to hit a fierce shot that Brian Murphy did well to gather in the Bohemians goal.
Daryl Kavanagh then forced Murphy into another save on 16 minutes when he shot on the turn having picked up Stephen Bradley’s low free kick. There followed a brief interlude in which Christy Fagan picked up a booking for a late challenge on Pat’s full back Derek Pender, but Pats were soon threatening again when Anto Murphy’s cross from the right caused the Bohs ‘keeper to save from Derek Doyle just six yards out.
Chances continued to come the way of the home side as Bohemians struggled to gain any real sense of control. But Anto Flood managed to get a shot away at the other end just after the half hour mark although Rogers held it comfortably. Pats should then have opened the scoring when Kavanagh glanced a shot inches wide having met a cross from the right by David McMillan.
But the defining moment of the half came two minutes before the break when Fagan made another innocuous but late challenge, this time on Evan McMillan. It was a valid booking, however, and as Tom Connolly produced his second card of the game the striker took the long walk, leaving Anto Flood to plough a lone furrow up front for the remainder of the game.
And within seven minutes of the restart Flood had created the opening goal. Ian Bermingham was somewhat fortunate to escape with a yellow card, having held back Ger O’Brien right on the edge of the penalty area, and Brennan’s curling free brought an excellent save from Rogers. But as the ball spun away from goal Flood executed a dramatic bicycle kick that returned it to the danger area and Liam Burns touched home from six yards.
In the wake of the goal Bohemians looked suddenly at ease with themselves and Pats, in contrast, began to snatch at the game. Still, half chances fell to the home side as David McMillan stooped to head wide from Pender's cross and Evan McMillan headed over from a Bradley free kick.
Pete Mahon’s men were gradually building up a head of inelegant steam and on 67 minutes they were handed a lifeline. Bradley delivered a corner into the heart of the box and a volley of shots rained in as Bohemians bodies flung themselves in the way. By the time Evan McMillan drove the loose ball high over the bar the whistle had already gone and Tom Connolly was pointing at the penalty spot.
It was Liam Burns who was picked out as the guilty man, seemingly having handled one of the goalbound efforts, and a straight red card reduced the visitors to nine. Bradley added insult to injury, ramming home the spot kick to draw Pats level.
While St Pats undeniably benefitted from their two man advantage, they didn’t use it particularly well. They needlessly conceded possession as Bohemians' depleted ranks repeatedly closed the gaps which were appearing all around them. But, as the minutes ebbed away, the weight of numbers began to tell. David McMillan broke into the box and poked a shot off the outside of a post, then Mulcahy had an effort from Bradley’s corner deflected inches wide.
Beached on a largely useless single point, Pats forward progress became a stampede as Kavanagh had a series of shots blocked away by Murphy. Mulcahy powered a header narrowly off target from yet another corner, while Conor Kenna similarly looped an effort over the Bohemians bar.
Right at the death Bermingham, and then McMillan, had shots charged down and when the whistle came it would have been impossible not to appreciate the away side’s achievement in carving out a 1-1 draw from such a weight of adversity.
St Patrick’s Ath: Gary Rogers; Derek Pender, Evan McMillan, Conor Kenna, Ian Bermingham; Anto Murphy (Shane McFaul, 68), Dave Mulcahy, Stephen Bradley, Derek Doyle (Ian Daly, 68); David McMillan, Daryl Kavanagh.
Subs not used: Chris Bennion, Brian Shortall, Shane Guthrie, Sean O’Connor, Paul Crowley.
Bookings: Bermingham (51), Doyle (56) E McMillan (64).
Bohemians: Brian Murphy; Mark Rossiter (Roberto Lopez, 88), Liam Burns, Aidan Price, Ollie Cahill; Anto Flood (Chris Forrester, 91), Ger O’Brien, Glenn Cronin, Stephen Hurley (Kevin Feely, 74), Killian Brennan; Christy Fagan.
Subs not used: Craig Sexton, Lee Dixon, Gary Burke, Ryan McEvoy.
Bookings: Fagan (18), Flood (69), B Murphy (89).
Sendings Off: Fagan (43), Burns (67).
Referee: Tom Connolly.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Anto Flood.