League Report: Bohemians 3 - 1 Sligo Rovers

Jonathan Afolabi in action against Derry City last month

Jonathan Afolabi Credit: Martin Doherty (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Dalymount Park

Bohemians claimed their first win in six games when they defeated Sligo Rovers 3-1 at Dalymount Park on Friday night.

A brace from Jonathan Afolabi and a goal from Ali Coote gave the home side and important three points in the race for European qualification, they jump ahead of Shelbourne into fourth place.

Pedro Aves Correia scored late to give the visitors for a consolation goal when they were awarded a late penalty.

Declan Devine made three changes to the side that drew with Shelbourne on Monday night, Jordan Flores and Daniel Grant dropped to the bench while Adam McDonnell missed out through suspension – Bartlomiej Kukulowicz, Paddy Kirk and Dylan Connolly all started.

For Sligo, John Russell went with two changes after they took a huge step towards safety in their 1-0 win over Derry City on Monday. Johan Brannefalk and John Mahon started on the bench and made way for Fabrice Hartmann and Nando Pijnaker.

The best chance in the opening minutes came in the sixth minute when Greg Bolger lead a Sligo breakaway and let Karl O’Sullivan away on the left wing with a lovely through ball – he spotted Fabrice Hartmann in the box with a cross but the midfielder, with the goal at his mercy, failed to connect with the ball.

Ali Coote set the home side up for a great chance in the tenth minute when he played Jonathan Afolabi through on the run – the striker sprinted toward goal, but Richard Brush was quick off his line to force the shot and deny the goal.

Reece Hutchinson linked up well with David Cawley in the 16th minute to work the ball down the left wing, the fullback found Hartmann at the back post, but his shot was gathered easily by James Talbot.

Afolabi rattled the crossbar in the 23rd minute when Dylan Connolly found the forward’s feet with a drilled cross from the right flank – the striker side footed the ball quickly with the ball hitting the bar, Brush followed up quickly to gather the ball to safety.

The game settled down a great deal for much of the rest of the first half, although James Clarke danced into the box in the 38th minute and put the Sligo defence under pressure, Coote and James McManus all got on the ball in the box before they were eventually crowded out.

The Gypsies broke the deadlock ten minutes after the re-start, McManus set Connolly free with a great ball to the right wing, he then took the ball into the box before rounding the goalkeeper and squaring the ball to Afolabi who hammered the ball into the net for his 12th league goal this season.

Afolabi had a great chance to make it two in the 64th minute, James Clarke found the striker on his own at the edge of the box, he turned to shoot but this time he dragged his shot well wide of the goal.

Clarke fired just wide of the goal minutes later, the home side were again on the attack and at the end of another driving run Connolly slipped a ball through, but his teammate couldn’t keep his shot on target.

The home side doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when Kukulowicz played a long ball to Connolly, the midfielder took the ball on once again and played a low cross that made its way all the way to Ali Coote on the far side of the box – he took aim and placed the ball into the bottom corner.

A good midfield challenge from Clarke broke the ball for Afolabi to take on, the striker took aim in the 80th minute but he fired the ball inches over the crossbar.

Afolabi added a second in the 85th minute, second half substitute Jordan Flores took the ball from a throw in and found the end line, he pulled the ball back for the unmarked striker who stroked the ball into the back of the net to give Bohemians a comfortable victory.

The Bit O’Red did pull a consolation goal back in stoppage time when Pedro Alves Correia converted from the spot – referee Kevin O’ Sullivan had the striker retake the penalty after he scored initially but he made no mistake with either attempt.

Bohemians: James Talbot; Patrick Kirk, Bartłomiej Kukułowicz, Krystian Nowak, Kacper Radkowski; Keith Buckley, James Clarke (Kristopher Twardek 83), Dylan Connolly (Jordan Flores 76), Alistair Coote (John O'Sullivan 83), James McManus (Daniel Grant 76); Jonathan Swanson Afolabi.

Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Cian Byrne, Louie Holzman, Declan McDaid, Oluwaseun Akintunde.

Booked: Dylan Connolly (75).

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush; Garry Buckley, Reece Hutchinson, Niall Morahan, Nando Zen Pijnaker (John Mahon 73); Gregory Bolger (Kailin Barlow 53), Robert Burton (Frank Liivak 73), David Cawley (Stefan Radosavljević 68), Fabrice Hartmann (Carl Brannefalk 73), Karl O’Sullivan; Pedro Alves Correia.

Subs not used: Conor Walsh, Daniel Lafferty, Lukas Browning-Lagerfeldt, Owen Elding.

Booked: Nando Zen Pijnaker (18), Gregory Bolger (49), Garry Buckley (51), Fabrice Hartmann (54), Robert Burton (67).

Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan.

Attendance: 4,193

extratime.com Player of the Match: Jonathan Afolabi (Bohemians)