Niall Newberry reporting from Oriel Park
Dundalk produced a smash-and-grab result on Monday night in the SSE Airtricity League thanks to a last-gasp 1-0 over impressive Bohemians, who were cruelly denied in the 95th minute of play.
Patrick Hoban, from the spot, scored his fifth goal of the season – leaving him just one behind Joey Donnelly’s club record – to give the Lilywhites a win that papered over the cracks of a woeful display.
Dundalk made four changes from a side that lost back-to-back league matches for the first time in two years with Dean Jarvis, Jordan Flores, Joe McKee and John Mountney all coming into the team.
Bohs made a total of seven changes with James Talbot, Aaron Barry, Keith Buckley and Kevin Devaney the only survivors from their narrow win against Finn Harps in Ballybofey last Friday night.
Having picked up an impressive 20 points from their first nine matches heading into this game, the Gypsies had made their best start to a league season since their last title-winning campaign of 2009.
And some slack defending from the hosts allowed Keith Long’s side to create the first chance of this match when captain Buckley crossed for the unmarked Daniel Mandroiu, who could only head over.
Dundalk had chances through Jarvis’ deflected shot before Flores floated a free-kick into the box which was headed over by Hoban, but the Lilywhites were struggling to stamp any real authority.
The home crowd were growing increasingly frustrated at their team’s lack of creativity and Bohs should have scored when Devaney hit the side-netting after he got on the end of Ali Reghba’s cross.
Bohs were very much the better side throughout the first half of this encounter and had another chance when Mandroiu fired over before Michael Duffy’s shot was deflected wide at the other end.
The Gypsies continued to dominate proceedings as the second half commenced in what were treacherous conditions at the Louth venue with Dundalk pretty much hanging on for the majority.
However, it was the visitors that again went close to taking the lead when Ryan Swan was denied by a decent Gary Rogers save before Rob Cornwall headed agonisingly wide from the resulting corner.
Mandroiu was a constant thorn in Dundalk’s side throughout the night and his free-kick was too hot to handle for Rogers, but luckily for the veteran stopper, there was nobody able to take advantage.
Reghba was also causing considerable issues out on the right flank and he easily got the better of Jarvis before the Bohs winger’s cross was very nearly diverted into his own net by Sean Gannon.
Vinny Perth’s side were lacklustre throughout this encounter but they were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage when Dan Kelly was brought down by Bohs left-back Patrick Kirk on the edge of the box.
The foul looked to have taken place just outside the box but up stepped Hoban, who in the fifth minute of injury time, dispatched to gift the Lilywhites what was a hardly deserved three points.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Daniel Cleary, Sean Hoare, Dean Jarvis; Joe McKee (Chris Shields 56), Jordan Flores (Patrick McEleney 61); John Mountney (Daniel Kelly 73), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, Dane Massey, Cameron Dummigan, Georgie Kelly.
Booked: Sean Hoare (66), Jamie McGrath (75), Daniel Cleary (77).
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Rob Cornwall, Aaron Barry, Patrick Kirk; Keith Buckley, Robbie McCourt; Ali Reghba (Daniel Grant 74), Daniel Mandroiu (Scott Allardice 90), Kevin Devaney; Ryan Swan (Sam Byrne 88).
Subs not used: Sean Bohan, James Finnerty, Michael Barker, Conor Levingston.
Booked: Andy Lyons (49), Keith Buckley (64).
Referee: Tomas Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Daniel Mandroiu (Bohemians).