League Report: St Patrick's Athletic 1 - 3 Bohemians

Sat, Sep 22 2018

Dave Donnelly reports from Richmond Park

Alan Hansen famously said 'you'll never win anything with kids' when the legendary Alex Ferguson put his faith in a cohort of young players.

He was proven wrong then and, had he been at Richmond Park on Saturday night, he may have been found munching on his words once more as Bohemians put St Patrick's Athletic to the sword.

Keith Long handed full league debuts to three teenagers and two of them, 17-year-old Ali Reghba (twice) and Robbie McCourt, repaid his faith with debut goals.

That looked a dim prospect when the Athletic took the lead after just four minutes courtesy of French striker Achille Campion.

It was all too easy for the home side as Ryan Brennan stroked in a flat free kick and Campion had nobody challenging him when he nodded the ball past Colin McCabe.

Long had changed all 11 of his starting players with one eye on next Sunday's FAI Cup semi-final against Cork City at Dalymount Park following Wednesday night's win in Derry.

If that was a calculated risk on the part of the manager, it paid off as the young players he brought in dominated their more experienced opponents.

Still, they could have been 2-0 down within six minutes as Jake Keegan met Dean Clarke's cross with a low header that McCabe just about pawed out of the corner.

Gradually, however, a young Bohs team anchored by the former West Bromwich Albion defender McCourt began to assert themselves and turned the tide.

The Athletic's narrow back three paid off in the 3-0 win over Waterford earlier this month but it was badly exposed against Bohs' pacey widemen Ryan Graydon – another debutant – and Danny Grant.

It was one of Graydon's raids down the left that led to the leveller, the winger's cross finding Grant at the back post, and he unselfishly teed up Reghba to finish from close range.

McCourt could have got his name on the scoresheet ten minutes from the break following a quick shimmy and shot, but his curling effort flew just over.

The former Ireland under-19 international wouldn't be denied long, however, and he put the Gypsies in front ten minutes after the break.

Reghba did brilliantly to hold the ball up and feed Grant on the right. His shot was parried by Brendan Clarke, and McCourt beat Reghba to stab home the loose ball.

Liam Buckley brought in Conan Byrne and captain Ian Bermingham in an effort to arrest his side's slide, but it was one of Long's subs who would make the real difference.

Promise Omochere became the fourth member of the Gypsies' league and cup double-winning side to take the field and he was the architect of the clincher.

Smart close control from the winger brought him past two would-be tacklers and he found Reghba peeling away to the right, and the striker hammered a low shot into the corner.

It was déja vu for the German-born Irish striker, who scored twice in the second half as Bohs' under-19s edged out the junior Saints to win the Enda McGuill Cup here two weeks ago.

It he can carry his Richmond Park form back to Dalymount Park, Bohemians may just have their next star on their hands.

St Patrick's Athletic: B Clarke; Desmond, Leahy, Barker; Madden, Lennon, Markey, R Brennan (Clifford 61), D Clarke (Bermingham 72); Keegan (C Byrne 65), Campion.

Bohemians: McCabe; Lyons, Cornwall, D Byrne, Kirk; O Brennan, McCourt (Lunney 70), Stokes; Grant (Hamilton 81), Graydon (Omochere 78), Reghba.

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).

Attendance: TBC.

Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ali Reghba (Bohemians).