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Late Kelly equaliser sees Bohs and Derry share spoils after six-goal thriller

Kelly’s 95th minute goal came shortly after the visitors thought they had secured victory through James Akintunde.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Bohemians 3

Derry City 3

Darryl Geraghty reports from Dalymount Park

BOHEMIANS AND DERRY City shared the spoils in a six goal thriller at a packed Dalymount Park.

An incredible, breathless and topsy-turvy encounter, and arguably the game of the season, finished level thanks to a 95th minute equaliser from Georgie Kelly to break Derry City hearts, who, just minutes before thought they had snatched all three points when James Akintunde lobbed James Talbot in the 91st minute.

In the middle of a home triple header, that began with Friday’s comfortable four-nil win over Maynooth University Town in the Extra.ie FAI Cup, a game in which Keith Long got the chance to rest a number of first team players.

At the same time, Derry City had a 10-day break since their last game away at rivals Finn Harps, but were missing key players through suspension in the form of Cameron McJarrett, Danny Lafferty and Joe Thomson, with Bastien Hery ineligible to play against his parent club.

And it was the visitors who looked fresher and started much brighter and had a huge chance to take the lead after just five minutes. Evan McLaughlin’s deep free kick to the back post found Ronan Boyce, who’s initial effort was blocked, but on the follow up smashed it towards goal only for Eoin Toal to somehow clear the ball off the line from a couple of yards out.

Having been second best in the opening exchanges, it was the perfect wake-up call for both the home fans and players as just two minutes later Liam Burt hit an unstoppable strike to break the deadlock.

Adding to his wonder strike away at Finn Harps last week – amongst other outstanding strikes this season – the Scottish winger, having been perfectly tee’d up by Georgie Kelly on the edge of the area, rifled home into the top corner for his seventh of the season, giving Nathan Gartside no chance.

The breathless opening third of the game continued as the Candystripes looked to get back on level terms immediately. Firstly, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe saw his header sail straight into James Talbot’s grateful hands from a whipped McLaughlin cross.

And just seconds later Talbot was forced into action again, saving sharply at the feet of Jamie McGonigle who thought he had rounded the Bohs stopper, who bravely got down and turned the ball wide.

Man of the match, Burt was really enjoying himself on the right hand side and could have doubled his side’s lead following some slick build up play. Having been slid through by Dawson Devoy on the inside right channel, Burt sharply cut inside but just as he looked to poke the ball home, he was met by Gartside who reacted with cat-like reflexes to save with a strong hand.

Bohs suffered a massive blow five minutes before the half as one of the stars of the season, Ali Coote, suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury. This seemed to swing the momentum in favour of the visitors again, who finished the half the stronger as both Junior and James Akintunde were causing the hosts rearguard all sorts of problems as cross after cross rained in.

As the second half kicked off, the fifteen minute break did nothing to slow down
either side as both sides came flying out of the traps again. Both Jamie McGonigle and Dawson Devoy exchanged strikes forcing top saves within two minutes of the restart.

Just after the hour mark, Nathan Gartside was forced into action to deny Anto Breslin from a free kick just 20-yards out, and from his resulting punch clear, Derry City broke at lightning pace and got themselves back on level terms through a McGonigle wonder strike.

The former Northern Irish Under-21 man notched his 100th career goal when he showed quick feet to cut inside from the left wing and curled a beautiful right footed effort into the far top corner to make it one a piece.

The Candystripes turned the game on its head with another blistering counter attack. This time it was the goal scorer who turned provider, as McGonigle floated a dangerous, inviting left footed cross to the back post to find Junior who managed to bundle the ball home under pressure from Andy Lyons.

The home side were not going down without a fight and with 10 minutes left talismanic striker Georgie Kelly nodded home the equalizer from a Devoy cross.

The Meath man who really should have scored himself but reacted sharply to follow up on his own second ball, and dink a cross back into the danger zone and Kelly applied the finish.

Just as it looked like both teams would share the spoils, Akintunde had different ideas. A long ball over the top seemed to catch James Finnerty out, as it seemed to take an awkward bounce and the big striker raced through to loop the ball over the helpless Talbot.

Just as it looked dead and buried, Bohs somehow snatched a point from the dying embers, as Georgie Kelly smashed home a wonderful volly to make three each with the last kick of the game sending Dalymount Park wild.

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Keith Long’s men still have the cushion of two games in hand on tonight’s rivals, with Sligo Rovers in their sights who currently occupy third place with a five point lead, as we now enter the business end of the season.

In a bid to bounce back from conceding a last minute equaliser Ruaidhri Higgins will have to lift his troops as they welcome relegation-threatened Longford Town on Friday, who are looking to perform their very own great escape.

Meanwhile, Bohs welcome Finn Harps to round of the run of three home fixtures in a week.

Bohemian FC: James Talbot, Andy Lyons (Rory Feely, 77’), Rob Cornwall, James Finnerty, Anto Breslin, Ali Coote (Keith Ward, 40’), Keith Buckley © (Conor Levingston, 77’), Dawson Devoy, Ross Tierney (Jamie Mullins, 90+2), Liam Burt Georgie Kelly

Subs not used: Stephen McGuinness, Tyreke Wilson, Ciaran Kelly, Conor Levingston, Roland Idowu, Cole Kiernan

Derry City: Nathan Gartside, Ciaran Coll, Ciaron Harkin, Eoin Toal (c), Jamie
McGonigle, James Akintunde, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, Ronan Boyce, Darren Cole,
Evan McLaughlin (Gerard Storey, 90+3’), Jack Malone (Will Fitzgerald, 71’)

Subs not used: Jack Lemoignan, Mark McChrystal, Michael Harris, Patrick Ferry, Caolan McLoughlin, Caoimhin Porter, Oran McLaughlin

Referee: Rob Harvey

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