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Bohemians pulled off an outstanding comeback to get their first points on the board in 2017, coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against a dismally poor Bray side who surrendered a dominant second-half lead to leave Dalymount Park with nothing.
Two goals in two minutes for Harry Kenny’s side greeted the second period before a Dinny Corcoran-inspired comeback, featuring two goals and an assist, brought Dalymount Park into raptures for their first win of the 2017 season.
With two losses from their opening set of games following last weekend’s Dublin Derby defeat, Keith Long knew the value of a win heading into this game if his side were to prevent the threat of relegation looming in a season where three sides will go down to the First Division.
His side were the more impressive in the opening half, with former Dundalk midfielder Keith Ward leading the attacking line energetically for the hosts, also smashing a fine free-kick against the bar late in the opening period in the closest chance of breaking the deadlock.
Bohemians, who scored just 30 goals in 33 games last season, are aware they will struggle without the services of striker Ismahil Akinade for another little while, but looked more threatening in this game than in most at Dalymount Park last season.
Jamie Doyle gave service in attack where Dinny Corcoran put pressure on a vulnerable Bray defence, with Georgie Poynton linking up well with the ball in the final third.
But all of the promise and intent the hosts showed in the opening half was dispelled in the space of two attacks in two minutes after the interval.
First, Bray snatched the lead when a Gary McCabe corner bounced untracked towards the back post where defender John Sullivan glanced the ball beyond Shane Supple to make it 1-0.
The lapse in concentration was by no means momentary for Bohs, as Bray attacked relentlessly again almost from regaining possession from the tip-off.
The ball was steadily moved up the pitch before a neat ball across the goalmouth found Dylan Connolly with the time and space he wanted all game, seven yards from goal.
The winger trapped the ball between his feet, switching possession from his right foot to his left before planting a fine low strike under the dive of Supple to make it 2-0.
Bohemians rocked themselves from their paralyzed state of momentary shock to make a game of it moments later. Dinny Corcoran found himself unmarked behind enemy lines, going untracked by both Conor Kenna and Tim Clancy before slotting the coolest of finishes beyond Peter Cherrie to make it 2-1.
Bohemians were re-energized both in the stands and on the field of play, with three successive lapses in concentration on both sides firstly giving Bray an unassailable lead in a dominant ascendency, before snatching it away as Harry Kenny’s side were the makers of their own destruction.
It was all to play for and plenty of time to play with for the hosts. They were in the depths of despair facing into a third straight defeat and heading towards the bottom of the table, but now a first point of the season, perhaps even more, was within sight.
Anto Flood curled an audacious chance off the crossbar from distance but that was as far as Bray would come to another goal as the adrenaline which had built up throughout the game found an ecstatic release valve for Bohemians.
Dinny Corcoran got his side back into the game and it was he who set up a dramatic equalizer. Against the run of play Bohs attacked a ragged Bray defence caught unawares. Corcoran played a neat ball to Keith Ward who took the ball onto his left before slamming it beneath Cherrie for 2-2.
The Gypsies were back from the brink and suddenly and dramatically made all three points their own when Dinny Corcoran slotted his second past Cherrie with a neat bouncing finish into the bottom left corner with just over 10 minutes remaining, again exposing a disastrously unaccountable Bray defence caught blind, the scoreline now reading an improbable 3-2.
The final moments were as nervous and fraught as the comeback had been elated, but Keith Long’s side held firm for the final minutes to earn a crucial three points while at the same time inflicting an awful defeat on a Bray side who, with twenty minutes remaining, were set to go joint top of the table alongside Cork City and Dundalk.
Bohemians: Shane Supple (gk); Derek Pender, Robert Cornwall, Dan Byrne, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Paddy Kavanagh, Keith Ward (Philip Gannon), Ian Morris, Jamie Doyle; Georgie Poynton, Dinny Corcoran
Subs not used: Greg Murray (gk), Stephen Best, Dylan Hayes, Dean Casey, Oscar Brennan, Kaleem Simon
Yellow cards: Paddy Kavanagh (30), Lorcan Fitzgerald (73)
Bray Wanderers: Peter Cherrie, Hugh Douglas, Conor Kenna, Tim Clancy, Kevin Lynch; John Sullivan, Keith Buckley (Ryan Brennan 83), Gary McCabe (Jamie Aherne 85), Dylan Connolly; Aaron Greene, Anthony Flood
Subs not used: Lee Steacy (gk), Derek Foran, Karl Moore, Jason Marks, Mark Salmon
Yellow Cards: Gary McCabe (84), Dylan Connolly (92)
Referee: Robert Hennessy
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Dinny Corcoran (Bohemians)