League Report: Bohemians 0 - 2 Shamrock Rovers

Rory Gaffney with a cute left foot finish from an acute angle

Rory Gaffney with a cute left foot finish from an acute angle Credit: Conor Ryan (ETPhotos)

Patrick O’ Connor reports from Dalymount Park

Shamrock Rovers put back-to-back victories together for the first time this season when they fairly comprehensively beat Bohemians by 2-0 last and in the process climbed well away from the bottom of the table and up to fifth place.

On the evidence of their recent two performances, they look very much like the Rovers of recent years and the stuttering form at the start of the season for the Hoops looks like it has now been consigned to history already.

Six points, six goals scored and no goal conceded means they once again look like the team all other potential title contenders will have to beat if they intend to knock Rovers off their customary top spot.

Bohemians for their part will be disappointed that they did not make their first half dominance count in a tangible way but will be even more perturbed by their inability to match Rovers when the visitors assumed control in the second half.

The home side did start with great intent however and had Rovers pinned back into their own half for the first 25 minutes.

Ali Coote was the dominant influence in midfield for Bohs, and wingers Declan McDaid and Dylan Connolly were causing trouble for Rovers on both flanks, with Connolly in particular looking very penetrating any time he got the ball.

It was significant though that centre forward Jonathon Afolaibi was making no headway through the middle even during this purple patch, and this pattern was to continue right throughout the 90 minutes.

Coote had Bohemians’ first effort on goal in the fourth minute, a driving ground level shot that flew past the near post after good build up play by Connolly.

The same two players combined well again in the 12th minute when a reverse pass by the Scot send Connolly scampering through the middle but Rovers’ keeper Alan Mannus was off his line quickly to smother the ball and avert the danger.

Rovers did begin to settle as the first half drew to a close with Jack Byrne, Neil Farrugia and Rory Gaffney all becoming more prominent in their attacking half of the pitch.

Stephen Bradley’s side got the opening goal at the ideal time two minutes before the half time break, somewhat against the run of play, and it certainly seemed to deflate the predominately home fans in the 4,290 crowd.

Byrne skipped past two defenders in the box and his clipped ball back into the penalty area was met by a downward header by Farrugia which James Talbot was unable to stop.

Rovers started the second half as they finished the first, very much controlling the game, with Bohs now struggling to match them in any area of the field.

They were unable to threaten their opponents goal from open play and were reliant on set pieces to try to force an equaliser, one good effort by Adam McDonnell in the 57th minute being the closest they came to beating Mannus.

The Hoops put the issue beyond doubt in the 66th minute when they scored the insurance second goal.

Byrne was the provider again, his free kick from the edge of the box found Gaffney at the far post and his low shot squirmed past Talbot for goal number two.

The visitors continued to pile on the pressure on Bohs, encouraged by their vociferous fans in the Mono Stand, while the home side could make little headway even with the addition of reinforcements from the substitutes bench.

The Gypsies still remain top of the table following the defeat of Derry City last night and these two sides meet in Derry on Monday in a top of the table clash that will provide more insight into their credentials as potential title winners this season.

Rovers meanwhile welcome bottom of the table UCD on Monday night and will be looking to at least move back into the top four for the first time this season.

Bohemian FC: James Talbot, Grant Horton, Krystian Nowak, Kacper Radkowski, Paddy Kirk, Declan McDaid (John O'Sullivan 68), Adam McDonnell, Keith Buckley (James McManus 59), Dylan Connolly (Kris Twardek 68), Ali Coote (Dean Williams 79), Jonathan Afolabi.

Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Drew Baker, Jay Benn, Jordan Flores.

Booked: Keith Buckley (47), James McManus (61), Kasper Radkowski (66),

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Daniel Cleary, Lee Grace, Sean Hoare; Jack Byrne (Justin Ferizaj, 90) Markus Poom, Neil Farrugia, Sean Kavanagh (Roberto Lopes 90), Dylan Watts (Trevor Clarke 90), Rory Gaffney (Johnny Kenny 82), Graham Burke (Darragh Nugent 82).

Subs not usedLeon Pohls, Pico, Sean Gannon, Ronan Finn, Gideon Tetteh.

Booked: Lee Grace (53), Dan Cleary (56),

Referee:  Rob Harvey

Attendance: 4,290

extratime.com Player of the Match: Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers).