A solitary Axel Bossekota goal was enough to separate Bohemians and Limerick in Dalymount Park on Friday evening despite heavy Bohs pressure in the final minutes.
The opening ten minutes of the game were starved of chances with both sides struggling to hold onto the ball. The first real chance of note fell to Shane Tracy when his low shot off an Axel Bossekota pull back was excellently saved by Dean Delany.
Four minutes later Bohs carved out a chance from a Shane Murray cross. The former Arklow Town man arrowed the ball into the box from the right wing, perfectly onto the head of Conor Murphy but the Bohs debutant could only head wide.
After 24 minutes referee Paul Tuite realised that both Bohs’ full backs, Michael Barker and Zein Albehadlie, were wearing the same shirt number, 22, prompting a change of clothing for Albehadlie.
Limerick were well on top in the opening 25 minutes and looked to have identified Bohs Iraqi-born full-back, Albehadlie, as the weak link in the home side’s defence. Bossekota was moved out to the left-wing to put pressure on the new man and indeed, much of the Blues’ play was down that side.
However, it was the home side’s winger on the same flank, Karl Moore, who won the ball off Limerick left-back Shane Tracy and played an excellent through ball to Conor Murphy on 32 minutes but Murphy’s tame pass across goal went straight to Barry Murphy.
Just seconds later and it was Limerick going close at the other end of the pitch. Bohs failed to clear their lines despite numerous opportunities allowing the ball to eventually drop to Darragh Rainsford on the edge of the box. The striker took it on the volley but it flew narrowly wide.
Bohs had a near miss of their own seven minutes later when Derek Pender unleashed a vicious drive from 25 yards out that took Barry Ryan two attempts to get under control.
Minutes before half time Limerick nearly took the lead when Rainsford’s pass around the corner found Bossekota with his back to goal. The striker used his strength to hold off Roberto Lopes and get a shot in on goal but Delany saved competently.
The game reached half time with the two sides locked at 0-0. Both had had chances and a level scoreline was probably fair. That nearly changed five minutes into the second half however when Danny Galbraith’s long range effort forced Delany to tip over the bar.
Karl Moore jinked into the box after 63 minutes but his shot flew wide. But then just a minute later a Galbraith long ball allowed Bossekota in on goal. The Limerick number ten seemed to handle the ball as he brought it down but that didn’t deter him as he coolly stroked it past Delany.
Two minutes later Limerick’s front man went close again with a shot that rippled the side netting. Bohs began to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser and Dave Scully went close twice from successive corners but it just wouldn’t fall for the home side.
Karl Moore was continuing to cause problems for the Limerick defence. Good work down the left-wing on 79 minutes allowed him to feed Murphy inside the box but his shot was blocked.
Bohs were camped in the Limerick half for the final ten minutes and almost got their reward in the 90th minute. Dave Scully’s header from close range forced Barry Ryan into a truly sensational save on his right hand side and the danger was cleared. Five minutes later and deep into stoppage time it was down to Ryan to pull of yet another world class save, this time denying Derek Pender and ensuring Limerick of the victory.
That would be the last chance Bohs had of netting an equaliser and Limerick left Phibsborough with a deserved victory. It’s a win that keeps them in sixth place in the table and one that leaves Bohemians perilously close to the bottom.
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Zein Albehadlie (Kevin Devaney, 63), Roberto Lopes, Michael Barker, Luke Byrne; Karl Moore, Shane Murray (Dave Scully, 70), Derek Pender, Keith Buckley, Darragh Reynor (Dave Mulcahy 52); Conor Murphy.
Subs not used: Greg Murray, Owen Heary, Chris Lyons, Santiago Miguel Falbo.
Booked: Barker (74).
Limerick: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Stephen Folan, Robbie Williams, Shane Tracy (Shane Costelloe, 52); Stephen Bradley (David O’Leary, 63), Joe Gamble, Danny Galbraith, Craig Curran; Darragh Rainsford, Axel Bossekota.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack; Brian O’Callaghan, Barry Sheedy, James McGrath, Val Feeney.
Booked: Axel Bossekota (55), Shaun Kelly (72).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Karl Moore (Bohemians) - He caused havoc down both flanks all night and was unfortunate not to have his good work supplemented by a goal.