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Dundalk fight back twice to earn a point at Dalymount Park

An entertaining game finished 2-2.

Steven Bradley celebrates his equalising goal.
Steven Bradley celebrates his equalising goal.
Image: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Bohemians 2

Dundalk 2

ONCE AGAIN AN absorbing night ended with Dundalk drawing 2-2. 

Having done so last week against Derry City, tonight they twice came from behind to repeat the trick away to Bohemians. 

Bohs took a first-half lead through Jordan Flores but surrendered it a minute later to Pat Hoban, only to again lead at the break thanks to Promise Omochere. Dundalk found a second equaliser through Steven Bradley in the early stages of the second half, and despite the fact the game then swung wildly in both directions, the scoring improbably ended there. 

This was Bohs first game of the season after the postponement of last Saturday’s slated game with Sligo, and so it meant the return of the familiar rhythms of Dalymount Park on a Friday night, with the famous old floodlights cutting through the Phibsboro night sky for yet another year. There were some additions to reflect the emergencies of the times, with a Ukraine flag flying with the assorted Bohs flags behind the goal.

Bohs were shorn of several first-team regulars from last year but they had only two debutants: centre-back Grant Horton and midfielder Jordan Flores, appearing against the side for whom he once earned a Puskas nomination. With Keith Buckley currently off exploring the other side of the world, Tyreke Wilson captained Bohs with Rory Feely switching across from centre-back to compensate for the loss of right-back Andy Lyons to Shamrock Rovers. Kris Twardek was making his second debut, playing on the right with the fit-again Stephen Mallon on the opposite side as Ali Coote played centrally, in what was once Ross Tierney’s position.

Promise Omochere, meanwhile, was out to prove his days as an understudy to Georgie Kelly are over.

Dundalk made two changes from the last 2-2 draw, with the familiar faces of Greg Sloggett and Daniel Kelly replacing Paul Doyle and Joe Adams.

Bohs were the better side for the opening half-hour and often played direct and off the terrific Omochere, who pinned and bullied Dundalk’s centre-halves throughout. Had he shown more conviction he would have given Bohs the lead midway through the first half, but he glanced a header from Ali Coote’s corner tamely wide. 

Dundalk’s latent threat was made manifest on the counter-attack and they had forced James Talbot into a splayed save moments earlier. A slick move saw the ball ping from Pat Hoban to Robbie Benson and then to Daniel Kelly, whose shot was blocked away by Talbot.

Bohs controlled most of the play in the first half but took the lead via a set-piece. Sniffing frailty, a gaggle of Bohs players surrounded Dundalk goalkeeper Nathan Shepherd, and Jordan Flores then met Ali Coote’s corner ahead of the unconvincing Shepherd to score from close range.

The acrid celebratory smoke from the Bohs’ flares was still sweeping across the pitch when Dundalk equalised. Again it was a corner, won immediately from the kick off. Steven Bradley’s flighted ball was met unmarked by Hoban, with the Bohs box the scene of an inquisition as the smoke cleared.

james-talbot-punches-clear James Talbot punches a corner clear. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Talbot soon rescued Bohs from falling behind. Bradley brilliantly validated Daniel Kelly’s run behind the Bohs defence, and with the linesman ignoring pleas for offside, Talbot tipped Kelly’s shot around the post. Instead it was Bohs who led at the break. Coote as left in a crumpled heap in midfield after a hefty challenge for which the referee waved advantage, with Twardek’s low cross met by Omochere at the near post and looped over Shepherd and into the far corner.

 

It was unclear as to whether Omochere or Mark Connolly got the final touch, but the goal was at least a tribute to Omochere’s industry, if not his inspiration.

Dundalk lost Hoban to injury early in the second half but they regained parity: Kelly’s cross from the left to the back post found Bradley, whose header kissed the post on its way beyond Talbot.

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At that point a familiar face had entered the fray and was causing havoc: Keith Ward was afforded a warm reception from the Jodi Stand but he consistently found menacing positions behind the Bohs midfield two and drove at the heart of the defence.

General chaos broke loose after Dundalk’s equaliser. Bohs had a penalty appeal waved away after Sam Bone tangled with Mallon in the box (the crowd’s ire replaced the awe at Flores’ outrageous cross-field pass); Omochere pounced on a short back pass but tumbled and fell before he could shoot; Finnerty’s last-ditch block denied David McMillan from close range.

Ward continued to cause problems, and he skirted a free-kick narrowly wide of Talbot’s right-hand post.

Both sides had chances late to win it – substitute Jame Mullins saw a blocked shot squirm the wrong side of the post while Mark Connolly cursed himself as he headed Ward’s stoppage-time free-kick over the bar – but neither did. 

One revamped side with Promise; two revamped sides showing promise. 

Bohemians: James Talbot; Rory Feely, James Finnerty, Grant Horton, Tyreke Wilson (captain); Dawson Devoy, Jordan Flores (Jordan Doherty, 65′); Stephen Mallon (Jamie Mullins, 70′), Ali Coote, Kris Twardek; Promise Omochere 

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Sam Bone, Andy Boyle, Mark Connolly, Lewis Macari; Dan Williams (Keith Ward 53′), Greg Sloggett (Paul Doyle, 75′); Steven Bradley, Robbie Benson, Daniel Kelly (John Martin, 68′); Pat Hoban (Dave McMillan, 53′) 

Referee: Paul McLaughlin 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from Dalymount Park

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