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Derry City's impressive league record against Bohemians continued on Friday night as they held the champions to a one all draw at Dalymount Park.
Thomas Stewart fired Derry into the lead in the opening ten minutes with a sweet strike from the edge of the box before Killian Brennan drew the sides level with a trademark free-kick after 15-minutes.
Chances were few and far between in the second half but both sides could have won it with Mark Farren going close for Derry, before Glen Crowe passed up a glorious chance for the home side just after the hour-mark.
Bohs made just one change from their opening night victory over Dundalk with Gary Deegan replacing the injured Glenn Cronin in midfield. Derry made two switches with Mark McChrystal slotting in at centre back in place of the suspended Clive Delaney, while Liam Kearney replaced the injured Sammy Morrow with Stewart partnering moving forward.
The last time these two sides met resulted in one of the best FAI Cup finals in recent times, with Bohs eventually emerging victorious on penalty kicks. However, if Derry required any reason for optimism as they made to trip to Dublin then they surely took solace in their recent away record against the Gypsies.
Bohs, who raised the league championship flag before the game, hadn't beaten Derry at home for five years before this encounter. But it was they who started strongest. Jospeh Ndo forced Gerard Doherty into a fine save after just six minutes with a piledriver from the corner of the box which the Derry 'keeper did well to palm away.
Bohs continued to press forward, but it was Derry who grabbed the lead on eight minutes with their first chance of the game. McGlynn played a delightful ball into the feet of Stewart who capitalised on some slack Bohs defending to fire pass Brian Murphy from 19-yards.
The home side looked to hit back straight away and were denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty almost straight from kick-off when Peter Hutton appeared to block a Gary Deegan shot with his arm.
Bohs got the equaliser that their positive start deserved when Brennan fired home on the quarter hour with a sublime strike from 25-yards. It was the winger himself who had been fouled by Molloy and he curled the resulting free-kick into the postage stamp corner with Doherty rooted to the spot.
Fenn volleyed an Ndo cross wide soon after, before Bohs manager Pat Fenlon was forced to shuffle his back-line after left-back Mark Rossiter picked up a knock. The re-shuffle saw Ken Oman slot in at centre-back with Owen Heary switching to the left side of defence.
Bohs continued to dominate possession, with Ndo showing some sublime touches down the flanks, but the two sides went in level at the break.
Derry started the second period in much brighter fashion and Mark Farren came agonisingly close to putting the Candystripes back infront just after hour-mark. Ruardhi Higgins' neat through ball sent Farren in behind the Bohs defence but his shot was blocked by the out-rushing Murphy, with the ball spinning underneath the keeper's body and narrowly wide of the post.
They were almost made to pay for that miss on 65 minutes when Crowe broke through into the box only to fire straight at Doherty from 12-yards.
Both managers rung the changes in the closing stages, but in truth neither side every really looked like like grabbing a winner as the game descended into a midfield battle. Bohs forced a number of corners and throw-ins deep into the Derry half but the Northerners held on to secure a well-earned one point and to maintain their impressive record against Bohs at Dalymount Park.
Bohemians: Brian Murphy; Owen Heary, Mark Rossiter (Ken Oman, 28), Jason McGuinness, Anthony Murphy; Gary Deegan, Paul Keegan, Joseph Ndo, Killian Brennan (Graham Carey, 68); Glen Crowe, Neale Fenn (Jason Byrne, 85).
Unused subs: Matt Gregg (gk), Conor Powell.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Ger O'Brien, Peter Hutton, Mark McChrystal, Steven Gray; Gareth McGlynn, Barry Molloy, Ruardhi Higgins (Ciaran Martyn, 79), Liam Kearney (James McClean, 87); Thomas Stewart, Mark Farren (Eddie McCallion, 90 +1).
Subs not used: Pat Jennings (gk), David Scullion.
Referee: Ian Stokes
Extratime.ie man of the match: Joseph Ndo (Bohemians) - he drifted out the game at times but Derry couldn't get the ball off him whenever he had it. Some outrageous tricks and flicks in the first-half drew gasps from the home fans.