Europa Conference League Report: Bohemians 3 - 0 Stjarnan (Bohs win 4-1 on aggregate)Fri, Jul 16 2021
Dave Donnelly reports from the Aviva Stadium
Bohemians marked their first appearance at the Aviva Stadium in style as they demolished Icelandic side Stjarnan to book a place in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
A brace from in-form striker Georgie Kelly, and a late third from Liam Burt, saw Keith Long’s side to a comfortable 3-0 victory in front of 6,000 spectators at the national stadium.
The Gypsies could easily have scored twice as many, but for a string of top-class saves and goalline clearances from the visitors, in a game that had been precariously balanced at 1-1 after the first leg.
Bohs will find out the exact schedule for next week’s second round tie with F91 Dudelange, who were knocked out of the Europa League by UCD in 2015, but will head there in fine form.
The home side rarely looked troubled against a game but limited Stjarnan side, who showed some fight after half time, but had to wait until the 34th minute to break the deadlock.
In truth, Bohs had dominated possession from the off, against a Stjarnan side happy to camp 11 men in their own half, but had create little in the way of quality chances until that point.
Dawson Devoy saw his shot from 20 yards deflected behind, while Kelly was inches from getting a toe to nudge home Tyreke Wilson’s dangerous low cross, but the visitors were mostly comfortable.
The coveted Devoy curled another effort past the top corner, while Stjarnan’s first real foray forward saw Rory Feely booked for hauling down Hilmar Ami Halldorsson as he ran through on goal.
Stjarnan’s resistance began to wane 12 minutes from the break as Kelly met Burt’s cross with a first-time finished, but keeper Haraldur Bjornsson did wonderful to claw the ball out of the top corner.
His heroics were futile, however, as Devoy picked up the second ball from the resulting corner, jinked effortlessly through two tackles and crossed low for Kelly to tap into an empty net.
It was no less than their endeavour deserved, but Bohs were almost pegged back immediately as Emil Atlason flicked a Heidar Aegisson cross goalwards, but straight into the arms of James Talbot.
Stjarnan enjoyed their best spell of the game immediately after half time as Atlason and Eyolfur Hedinsson both forced Talbot into action, the latter’s effort from all of 40 yards tipped over.
Just when it appeared Bohs were in for a real challenge as Brynar Gudjonsson managed to bungle a simple clearance by aiming it at Devoy’s face.
Burt took full advantage as he accelerated onto the loose ball and, with Kelly and Ross Tierney free in the box, the winger picked out Kelly to coolly slot his second into the corner.
From there, it was less a matter of if Bohs would win and instead by how many goals, and Kelly’s eyes lit up for a potential hat-trick moments later.
The Donegal man was clean through on goal with only captain Daniel Laxdal for company, and the defender appeared to drag down Kelly before hooking clear, but the referee waved play on.
Devoy was denied a third by the impressive Bjornsson after Tierney’s disguised backheel had taken the entire Stjarnan defence out of the game.
Burt had no such problem 15 minutes from time when skipper Keith Buckley picked him out with an outstanding diagonal pass, and the Scot had time to control the ball before stabbing it home.
Kelly’s quest for his third hat-trick in a month would be unsuccessful, but it wasn’t for lack of trying as he couldn’t reach an Andy Lyons cross, when the full-back might have been better to pass earlier.
Lyons’ night would take a bizarre turn as confusion between the officials delayed a throw in, and the pedantic referee Jason Lee Barcelo decided to book the full-back for alleged time-wasting.
Devoy was then denied a thoroughly deserved goal as he was played in by sub Keith Ward and dinked the ball over the keeper, but Gudjohnsson did brilliantly to hook off the line.
That kept the scoreline somewhat respectable, but the Icelanders were already well-beaten, and hardly touched the ball again as Bohs played keep-ball until the final whistle sounded.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Ciaran Kelly, Rory Feely (Rob Cornwall 46), Andy Lyons, Tyreke Wilson (Anto Breslin 71); Dawson Devoy (Jamie Mullins 89), Ali Coote, Liam Burt (Keith Ward 79), Keith Buckley (c); Georgie Kelly, Ross Tierney (Conor Levingston 71).
Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness (gk), Enda Minogue (gk), James Finnerty, Sean Grehan, Bastien Hery, Robert Mahon, Stephen Mallon,.
Booked: Rory Feely (23), Andy Lyons (8).
Stjarnan: Haraldur Bjornsson; Daniel Laxdal (c), Brynar Gudjonsson, Elis Rafn Bjornsson, Heidar Aegisson; Eyjolfur Hedinsson (Eggert Aron Gudmundsson 80), Magnus Anbo (Einar Karl Ingvarsson 69), Casper Sloth (Tristan Freyr Ingolfsson 89); Thorsteinn Mar Ragnarsson (Halldor Ori Bjornsson 69), Hilmar Arni Halldorsson, Emil Atlason (Oliver Haurits 69).
Subs not used: Adolf Dadi Birgisson, Viktor Reynir Oddgeirsson, Oli Valur Omarsson.
Referee: Jason Lee Barcelo (Gibraltar).
Attendance: 6,000 (official).
extratime.com Player of the Match: Keith Buckley (Bohemians).