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Despite playing 55 minutes with 10 men, Bohs managed to hold on for a win tonight

The hosts had Anto Murphy sent off in controversial circumstances

Ismahil Akinadi of Bohs celebrates scoring the first goal of the game.
Ismahil Akinadi of Bohs celebrates scoring the first goal of the game.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Bohemians: 1

Sligo Rovers: 0

THERE WAS GOOD and bad luck in equal measures for 10-man Bohemians who somehow managed to defend a 1-0 lead against Sligo Rovers who had the numerical advantage for 55 minutes in Phibsborough.

Ismanil Akinade’s first goal for the Gypsies, who had Anto Murphy sent off in controversial circumstances, prevented a third defeat on the trot against the Bit O’ Red who drop into the bottom two.

The home team got off to a better start but looked to have left their shooting boots at home with both Akinade and Paddy Kavanagh hitting wayward efforts in the first 20 minutes.

The goal in the 31st minute was straight off the training field with Murphy’s throw-in picked up by Kavanagh tight on the right touchline and the winger fired the ball into the box. A sublime touch from Keith Buckley pushed it back into the path of Akinade and the striker made no mistake in firing the ball low and to the left of the diving Richard Brush.

Not long after the celebrations had finished in the Dalymount stands, the home support were baying for the blood of referee Paul McLoughlin and to be fair, they had a point.

David Cawley, who had earlier cleaned out Stephen Best with a dreadful two-footed challenge and emerged card-less, went down under a tackle from Murphy.

The full-back won the ball, albeit it with his studs slightly showing, leading to a controversial red card that spurred the visitors on for the remaining 10 minutes of the half.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Long’s men, who emerged from the final onslaught of the half unscathed, but were clearly aware of what was to come after the break.

Surprisingly, it was they who made the first meaningful assault on the opposition goal after the restart with Kavanagh again involved down the right side, passing the ball into the path of Akinade to his left.

The striker’s first touch took it into the box where he fired a great effort with his right foot just wide of the far post.

The extra man began to make more of a difference as the game wore on, and at the same time, the away side were starting to find their creative touch.

Sander Puri was the main catalyst out left in a rejigged 4-2-4 system against Roberto Lopes, who had dropped back to fill in for the departed Murphy.

With an hour played Cawley picked up the ball from a corner outside the area and spread the play wide to Regan Donelan and the defender lobbed in a great cross where a stationary Alan Keane directed it with his head inches past the far post.

Minutes later, another Bohemians set-piece caused problems, with Buckley picking up the ball after a half-clearance and finding Kavanagh in space, where he fired the ball just past the top corner in what was the hosts’ last clear-cut chance.

In the 67th minute, Rovers had their best chance to level the game when Rafael Cretaro hit a dangerous ball into the box, which Delany had to dive to palm away. It subsequently fell into the path of Puri, who looked odds-on to score into an open goal, but somehow Lopes blocked it on the line.

By this point, Rovers had set up shop at the Cabra end of the ground and for their next chance at an open goal just five minutes later, there was no defender to put a block in, but still they could not find the net.

A long ball into the box was collected just wide of the goal by Corcoran, who hit a strong, short cross into the box, yet substitute Morten Nielsen somehow managed to knock it wide.

After that piece of good luck, there was a sense it was going to be one of those nights for the home team, who had to show a lot of grit and determination to close the game out and claim all three points against a relentless Rovers side.

Bohemians: Delany; Murphy, Prendergast, Mulcahy, Best; Kavanagh, Dillon (Creevy 65), Lopes, Evans (Byrne 76); Buckley; Akinade. Substitutes: Moore, Ashe, O’Brien, Caffrey, Steacy.

Sligo Rovers: Brush, Cretaro, Keane, Dykes, Donelon, Boylan, Cawley, Puri, Ward (Keating 65), Armstrong (Nielsen 46), Corcoran. Substitutes: Coulter, Taheny, McManus.

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About the author:

Stephen Doyle

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