Kurtis Byrne 33' -
A Kurtis Byrne header midway through the first-half handed Keith Long’s Bohemians a narrow 1-0 victory over Longford Town in an uninspiring game at Dalymount Park on Friday night.
After a nip and tuck opening fifteen minutes, the first chance of the game arrived after Paddy Kavanagh whipped a high ball towards the Longford box which found Jake Kelly. He showed great movement to step in front of his marker before his spiraling header fell just above Ryan Coulter’s goal.
Ten minutes later the same duo again combined to craft the next chance for the Gypsies. Kavanagh again found space down the right but this time opted to drill his cross low across the area. Kelly displayed great guile in being well-positioned but this time his shot was blocked off the line by a retreating Pat Flynn.
On the half-hour mark the Longford defence were again forced to hook a ball off the foot of the post when Ian Morris rose to meet a Kavanagh corner to power his header towards the goal only for it to be bundled away to keep the tie at a level pegging.
Three minutes later, however, the deadlock was indeed broken. Another fine delivery courtesy of Kavanagh from a free-kick was deftly headed on by Byrne and into the net for the striker to add his ninth of the campaign and continue his hot goal-scoring streak.
Longford reacted well to going down with Eddie Dsane and Don Cowen looking particularly impressive down the Town’s flanks. However, their first real chance of an equalizer came from the unlikely source of Flynn.
The Bohs backline cleared a ball up the pitch. However it fell to Flynn inside the centre-circle.
The experienced centre-half, who has only ever scored three league goals, decided to test his luck and unleashed a fantastic effort which flew past everyone inside the crowded Bohemians half and stung the palms of Dean Delany who had to be alert to make the stop and bring an end to a lively opening half.
The second-period was stark in contrast to its predecessor with little openings on offer for either side throughout.
On 55 minutes, Kealon Dillon swept a ball wide into the path of Cowan who cut inside before unleashing an audacious effort from distance which flew over Delany’s net.
The Gypsies continued to dictate the pace of the game as the second half progressed and seemed comfortable to hold on to their slender lead, passing from left to right forcing Longford to chase the game.
The introduction of Mark Quigley midway through the half seemed to give Bohs an extra bit of spark in attack and the striker was influential in crafting a decent chance with a quarter of an hour to play.
He won the ball high up the pitch before picking out Keith Buckley with a precision pass. Buckley then switched the ball towards Derek Pender who showed fantastic pace to skip by his man, however, his shot was well-wide of the mark.
Buckley continued to link-up the play and shortly after slipped a clever ball through to Byrne. However, the striker couldn’t connect with the power necessary to test Coulter and it was easily saved.
With the minutes quickly ticking down Longford began to reignite their search for a much-needed point. The closest they came was six minutes from the end when Kaleem Simon floated a free-kick from the left onto the head of Conor Powell. However it flew harmlessly over the mark.
Referee Graham Kelly blew his final whistle to bring an end to the lackluster proceedings and hand Bohs their second consecutive 1-0 victory which pushes them up to fifth in the Premier Division standings on 38 points.
Longford remain rooted to the bottom of the table on 13 points, six off closest rivals Wexford Youths with relegation now certainly staring them in the face.
Bohemians: Dean Delany, Derek Pender, Derek Prendergast, Ian Morris, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Jake Kelly (Marco Chindea 90+3), Keith Buckley, Roberto Lopes, Paddy Kavanagh (Eoin Wearen 75), Dean O’Halloran (Mark Quigley 70), Kurtis Byrne.
Subs not used: Dean Mahon (GK), Dan Byrne, Stephen Best, Dylan Hayes.
Bookings: Roberto Lopes (90).
Longford Town: Ryan Coulter, Jamie Mulhall (Noel Haverty 46), Pat Flynn, Yann Mvita, Cody Mulhall,Kealan Dillon (David O’Sullivan 66), Peter McGlynn, Philip Gannon, Kevin O’Connor, Eddie Dsane, Don Cowan (Kaleem Simon 72).
Subs not used: Paul Skinner (GK), Mark Hughes, Gaius Makouta, Rhys Gorman.
Bookings: Noel Haverty (70), Eddie Dsane (76).
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Extratime Man of the Match: Paddy Kavanagh (Bohemians).