Macdara Ferris reports from Dalymount Park
Having been in disarray last weekend losing to crisis club Bray Wanderers, Sligo Rovers turned it around to take all three points at Dalymount Park on Friday evening.
The comprehensive 3-0 win, through goals from Jack Kearney, David Cawley and an own goal from Dinny Corcoran, over ten-man Bohs allowed the Bit O’Red jump above the Gypsies in the table on a disasterious night for the Keith Long’s men.
Bohs didn’t quite run up the white flag but, having lined out in their white away strip after referee Paul McLaughlin thought the Gypsy red and black strip clashed with Sligo’s navy blue, the match was over as a meaningful contest 12 minutes into the second half.
By then Bohs were three goals down and a man down having lost their captain Derek Pender to a straight red card.
With four League of Ireland teams in European action this week, there was just one Premier Division clash being played on what was a Friday the 13th and it was the visitors to Dalymount Park who grabbed a 13th minute lead.
There was nothing superstitious or indeed suspicious about the opener but it was a silly goal for Bohs to concede.
Kevin Devaney needlessly conceded a corner, which Regan Donelon swung in to the onrushing Keaney and he was able to power home a header unopposed for the early lead.
Bohs were able to put some pressure on Sligo soon after with Mitchell Beeney having to twice punch clear Keith Ward centres. Ward’s initial shot was heading goalwards only to be turned behind by Seamus Sharkey.
The same Sligo player headed the resulting corner behind. Ward whipped the next one in on top of Beeney who cleared with strong hands.
When goalscorer Keaney took down Ward moments later, the Bohs attacker struck it around the wall from out wide requiring another intervention by Beeney.
Midway through the half Ward again took the shot on. This time more centrally but his effort from all of 30 yards whistled just over Beeney’s bar. Sligo’s quick closing down was reducing Bohs to shots from distance.
On 26 minutes Ward beatufilly picked out Keith Buckley loitering unmarked beyond the backpost from a corner. Buckley’s volley was wonderfully tipped over the crossbar by Beeney to protect his team’s lead.
Keith Long in his programme notes had commented that he “couldn’t understand how the playing surface cannot be maintained to a standard that is befitting his club”. Certainly his team looked to get the ball down and play it on the surface which had got some sprinker attention before kick off.
With the surface so dry, maybe it was no surprise that Sligo doubled their lead off another set piece swung in the air into the box. They hadn’t create much from open play but were proving deadly with their delivery with the dead ball.
Five minutes from the break Dinny Corcoran had done well to head behind a Donelon corner with a queue of Sligo players waiting behind him.
However when Rhys McCabe whipped the next one right into the mix, there was mass confusion.
David Cawley’s touch hit Corcoran, who this time could only steer the ball over the goal line. It gave Ger Lyttle’s men a 2-0 half time lead which certainly felt harsh on Bohs.
The corners kept on coming early in the second half. Again Bohs looked for Buckley at the back post five minutes into second period and his reverse ball back was headed over by Dan Casey, to the dissapointment of the home crowd.
It was to get worse a minute later when the Gypsies lost their skipper.
Lee-J Lynch, on his return to the Bit O’Red, showed some delightful touches on the left wing. Pender came in to shut it down but, when the ball came to Regan Donelon, the Bohs captain went full-blooded into the challenge, resulting in a red card.
Sligo soon made their extra man advantage pay dividends as they added a third when Cawley shot by Shane Supple to stun the home supporters.
There was a Bohs net buster on 66 minutes but it wasn’t a goal by the Gypsies but a brilliant goal line clearance by Sharkey.
The Sligo player headed Devaney’s powerful shot off the line before the defender himself landed heavily into the net taking it off the goalposts.
The game was stopped for several minutes while the net was repaired. Bohs did at least keep plugging away after but to no avail.
Late on substitute Daniel Kelly, on debut following his move from Bray, had a goalbound shot blocked by John Mahon while Devaey shot’s was just a fraction high.
The result leaves Bohs four points above Limerick, who sit in the relegation play-off position, and Sligo now looking up the table as they go four points behind sixth-placed St. Patrick’s Athletic.
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Derek Pender ©, Rob Cornwall, Dan Casey, Darragh Leahy; Keith Buckley, Oscar Brennan (Daniel Kelly 60), JJ Lunney, Kevin Devaney; Keith Ward (Ian Morris 88); Dinny Corcoran (Danny Grant 81).
Subs not used: Jamie Cleary, Dan Byrne, Karl Moore, Paddy Kavanagh.
Booked: Kevin Devaney (77)
Sent Off: Derek Pender (51)
Sligo Rovers: Mitchell Beeney; Jack Keaney, John Mahon, Seamus Sharkey, Regan Donelon; David Cawley, Rhys McCabe ©; Kris Twardek (Raffaele Cretaro 85), Lee J Lynch, Adam Wixted (Liam Kerrigan 66); Mikey Drennan (Lewis Morrison 80).
Subs not used: Edward McGinty, Kyle McFadden, Darren Collins.
Booked: Kris Twardek (45+1).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin.
Attendance: 1,750 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: David Cawley (Sligo Rovers).