Derry City 1 Dundalk 2
Dundalk issued a statement of intent at the Brandywell on Friday night, beating Derry City and moving to within one point of their opponents currently in second place with a game in hand.
And it was their prolific hitman, Patrick Hoban, who struck the fatal blow when he took advantage of Derry City’s failure to clear their lines, driving the ball into the bottom corner much to the delight of the few hundred Dundalk fans who made the journey to Foyleside.
Dundalk boss Stephen O’Donnell was sent off for goading the crowd behind his dugout seconds after Hoban’s late strike.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 10th minute when Robbie Benson let fly from just outside the Derry City penalty area after receiving a pass from Sam Bone. The Athlone native’s superb shot screamed into the top corner giving home goalkeeper, Brian Maher no chance.
Five minutes later the home side should have levelled matters following a fluent move. Brandon Kavanagh worked his way forward to find Jamie McGonigle on the right and his perfectly weighted lob into the box found Joe Thomson whose volley was parried wide of his post by Nathan Shepherd.
Dundalk were always dangerous on the counter-attack, with Stephen Bradley taking advantage of a defensive error and racing forward before smashing a strong drive over the Derry crossbar.
In the 34th minute Thomson was unfortunate for a second time when a long ball from Shane McEleney found Ronan Boyce raiding forward and his high cross saw the midfielder launch into an overhead kick, but the ball landed straight into the hands of Shepherd.
Benson, dangerous throughout, had his low shot parried away by Maher and the home support breathed a sigh of relief. Then at the other end, during injury time at the end of the first half, Dundalk’s Darragh Leahy came to his side’s rescue when he intercepted a threatening Will Patching cross and diverted the ball wide of his own goal.
Derry’s pressing after the break reaped rewards in the 74th minute when they deservedly levelled the score. Having won a free-kick on the right hand side of the Dundalk penalty area, Patching floated over a superb cross which was met by Derry substitute, James Akintunde, who powered the ball high into the net with a diving header.
The goal clearly lifted the spirits of the home side who were cheered on by their huge support. But it was Dundalk who had the final say in the 82nd minute. Derry failed to clear the danger and when the ball was fed to Hoban, the striker sent his shot across the body of Maher and into the bottom corner.
In response, Thomson drove a low shot towards goal from the edge of the Dundalk area, but that effort was easily gathered by Shepperd. And then during the final minutes of injury time another Patching free crashed off the crossbar with Shepperd beaten.
Derry City: Maher; Boyce (Akintunde, 66), Toal, McEleney, McJannet; Dummigan; Thomson, Patching, Kavanagh; Smith, McGonigle.
Dundalk: Shepperd; Macari (Martin, 76), Connolly, Bone, Leahy; Bradley, Sloggett, Doyle; Kelly (Ward, 58), Benson; Hoban (O'Kane, 90).
Referee: R Harvey
St Patrick’s Athletic 1 Shelbourne 2
JJ Lunney’s 53rd-minute goal made all the difference at Richmond Park as Shelbourne claimed a deserved victory against Dublin rivals St Patrick’s Athletic.
St Pat’s recorded a 3-0 away victory against Shels on the opening day of the season, but found the Drumcondra men to be a much tougher proposition on this occasion.
After shifting the ball onto his left foot inside the penalty area after 20 minutes, Jack Moylan broke the deadlock with an unstoppable strike to the roof of the net. Although this looked like being enough to give the visitors the edge at the break, the Saints fired back deep into first half stoppage-time through Joe Redmond’s smooth close-range finish.
While St Pat’s were expected to push on after the resumption, the visitors had other ideas. Facing his former club, Lunney unleashed a shot from the edge of the box that took a wicked deflection on its way past opposition netminder Joseph Anang.
This piled the pressure on Tim Clancy’s men once again and even though substitute Jason McClelland forced a fine stop out of ex-Saints custodian Brendan Clarke, Shels convincingly earned their third league win on the bounce.
St Patrick's Athletic: Anang; Curtis (Scott, 46 mins), Redmond, Grivosti (Bermingham, 46 mins), Breslin; O'Reilly, Forrester (Robinson, 83 mins), McCormack (McClelland, 60 mins); Burns, E Doyle, King (Owolabi, 60 mins).
Shelbourne: Clarke; O'Driscoll, Byrne, Griffin; Farrell, Lunney (Molloy, 67 mins), Dervin, Kane; Hakiki (Ledwidge, 73 mins); Boyd, Moylan (Anaebonam, 87 mins).
Referee: D MacGraith (Mayo).
Bohemians 2 Sligo Rovers 1
With Promise Omochere assisting on the double, Dawson Devoy and Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe delivered the goals to give Bohemians a victory they thoroughly deserved at Dalymount Park.
It completed a season’s double over Sligo - without a win now in five games - for Keith Long’s Gypsies who leapfrog their visitors up to fifth place in the table.
The sharp reflexes of Ed McGinty and the frame of his goal prevented Bohemians from taking the lead on 14 minutes, the Sligo goalkeeper tipping Ciaran Kelly’s bullet header from a Jordan Flores corner onto his crossbar.
Early substitutes Ali Coote and Max Murphy then opened Sligo up down the right. Devoy just couldn’t get enough on his shot to trouble McGinty.
Junior might have broken the deadlock in first half stoppage time, but having outmuscled Garry Buckley, he dragged his weak shot wide with only McGinty to beat.
Omochere came in off the left flank to the centre in a switch with Junior from the restart, as Bohemians continued to dominate with Devoy blasting a volley just over the top nine minutes in. The same man didn’t miss however seven minutes later when giving Bohemians the lead.
Flores, with a surging run and cross, was the initial architect. Omochere held the ball up well to find Devoy in space to drive his shot to the roof of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
McGinty made the save of the night to grasp a flashing 76th minute effort from Junior. Then scarcely a minute later, he was left floundering as Junior chipped home Bohemians’ second goal after another bustling run and assist from Omochere. It was the Londoner’s fourth goal of the season.
Substitute Adam McDonnell gave Sligo hope with a drilled finish on 87 minutes following a long throw, but Bohemians had done more than enough to take the points.
Bohemians: Talbot; Packham (Murphy, 31; Finnerty, 84)), Doherty, Kelly, Wilson; Flores, Levingston; Twardek (Coote, 21), Devoy, Omochere; Junior.
Sligo Rovers: McGinty; Horgan, Buckley, Blaney (Pijnaker, 68), McCourt; Bolger, Morahan (McDonnell, 64); O'Sullivan (Hamilton, 64), Cawley, Fitzgerald (Banks, 64); Keena (Heaney, 83).
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).
Drogheda United 3 Finn Harps 1
Ten-man Drogheda United rallied to bring their four-game losing streak to an end with a comeback victory at Head In The Game Park.
Finn Harps had led after Conor Tourish’s goal early in the second half. That was before United centre half Sean Roughan was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The visitors had largely dominated to that point and it looked as if Kevin Doherty’s strugglers would lose to their immediate rivals towards the foot of the table.
However, the hosts had other ideas. Substitute Evan Weir was on the field for only three minutes, a change made to mitigate against the numerical disadvantage. He was in the centre forward position to meet James Clarke’s pull back and his fiercely struck effort went through Mark McGinley’s legs.
In injury time, another substitute found the winner. Foley turned in Ryan Brennan’s low cross at the near post. The home crowd were in ecstasy. The travelling fans, as well as Ollie Horgan and his charges, were furious.
Bastien Hery was shown a straight red card late on and then after a breakaway, Darragh Nugent fired in a third to make sure of the three points for Drogheda.
Drogheda United: Long; Quinn (Brennan, 46), Roughan, Cowan, Massey; Deegan, Clarke; Poynton, Rooney (Weir, 67), Nugent; Lyons (Foley, 79).
Finn Harps: McGinley; Carrillo (Rudden, 93), Tourish, Slevin; Boyle, Connolly, Rainey, Hery, Donelon (Timlin, 72); McNamee (Devers, 77); Mihaljevic (Mahdy, 72).
Referee: Derek Tomney.