Sean O’Connor reports from Dalymount Park
Bohemians picked up all three points on Friday night at the expense of nine-man St. Patrick’s Athletic with a 3-2 win in Phibsboro.
If was fourth against first when the two Dublin sides met for the third time this season. The Saints came out on top in the opening two games but had no such luck on this occasion.
Georgie Kelly’s first half strike was the difference at half time, after the hosts dominated the opening 45. Darragh Burns levelled matters before a superb Tyreke Wilson free kick and solo strike from Liam Burt put Bohs 3-1 up.
Lee Desmond and Ian Bermingham saw red before a 91st minute wondergoal from Jason McCelland set up a nervy last few minutes. The Gypsies held on however and remain fourth, five points off a guaranteed European spot.
Coming into the match, Keith Long made just one change to his side, with Andy Lyons replacing Rob Cornwall. Stephen O’Donnell made four changes following last weekend’s draw at Waterford.
McCelland, John Mountney, Alfie Lewis, and Chris Forrester all made way for Bermingham, Paddy Barrett, Jamie Lennon, and Chris Forrester.
On 15 minutes, Mattie Smith had the first real chance of the contest, bursting through the middle after picking up a loose ball. Smith’s effort was well saved by James Talbot, who got down low to his left to keep the scores level.
As the half hour mark approached, the hosts began to emerge as the dominant side. A succession of corners put Jaros and his back line under severe pressure. Kelly should have made it 1-0 when he went one on one, but Vitezslav Jaros stood tall and saved brilliantly.
Kelly and Keith Buckley tried their luck from distance, and it became clear the Gypsies were growing in confidence.
St Pat’s challenged better after the 35-minute mark, winning a few corners, and putting together good passages of play for the first time. Smith and Benson appeared livelier, but they never really looked like breaking through the Bohs defence.
The breakthrough came a minute before the break. After sustained pressure from Bohs’ front three, Liam Burt crossed in a super ball which Ross Tierney failed to convert. Sam Bone cleared but could only find Kelly, who made no mistake from 10 yards, firing past Jaros for his 12th goal of 2021.
It was no more than the Gypsies deserved, after dominating their opponents for the majority of the opening 45 with their excellent work rate and high press.
The Saints began the second half much brighter. Kelly and Talbot were forced to clear on a number of occasions as the visitors stepped it up a gear.
Talbot, who had been enjoying a flawless evening, almost gifted the Athletic an equaliser on 50 minutes. Bone’s effort from outside the box appeared routine for Talbot, but the ball slipped from his hands and onto the line before he saved it just in time.
St Pat’s were enjoying their best period of the evening and earned an equaliser on 54 minutes. Robbie Benson’s through ball found Darragh Burns who saw his effort hit the far post. Rory Feely attempted to clear but could only bundle the rebound into his own net.
The Dublin derby heated up from this point on. The lucky 100 inside Dalymount Park raised the noise levels and urged their side to up it, which they did.
On 65 minutes, Burt’s terrific cross found Kelly inside the six-yard box, but he was denied by Jaros yet again.
The turning point of the night arrived on 71 minutes. Lee Desmond was sent off after a second yellow for a late challenge on Tierney. Wilson stepped up and buried the resulting free kick superbly into the top corner.
Bohs put the game to bed ten minutes later. Burt picked up the ball inside his own half and stormed through on goal. With one glance up at goal, he fired past Jaros into the bottom corner to send the 100 Bohs fans wild.
Six minutes later Saints skipper Ian Bermingham was also sent off following a second yellow for a tackle on Lyons.
On 92 minutes, the visitors did pull a goal back against the run of play, substitute Jason McCelland finding the bottom corner with a thunderous strike from 30 yards.
The final minutes proved nervy for Keith Long and his side, but they stood firm and earned their ninth win of 2021, and first against St Pats this season.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Rory Feely, Ciaran Kelly, Tyreke Wilson; Dawson Devoy, Ross Tierney (Jamie Mullins 87), Keith Buckley (C); Ali Coote (James Finnerty 93), Georgie Kelly (Bastien Hery 89), Liam Burt (Keith Ward 87).
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness; Anto Breslin, Rob Cornwall; Conor Levingston; Promise Omochere.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Vitezslav Jaros; Sam Bone (Ben McCormack 78), Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham (C), Paddy Barrett; Jamie Lennon, Billy King (Jason McCelland 69), Chris Forrester, Darragh Burns; Robbie Benson, Mattie Smith.
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Josh Keeley; Thomas Lonergan , Kian Corbally, James Abankwah, Daniel Norris.
Booked: Sam Bone (13), Billy King (17), Lee Desmond (41 & 71), Ian Bermingham (79 & 85)
Sent off: Lee Desmond (71), Ian Bermingham (85)
Referee: Robert Hennessy