Rovers capitalise on slipshod Bohemians defending
Visitors close to rescuing a point from a game in which they looked set to be well beaten
Shamrock Rovers’ Brandon Miele celebrates scoring against Bohemians at the Tallaght Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.
Shamrock Rovers 2 Bohemians 1
When these two meet you can expect a sense of occasion, but a good game is never guaranteed.
During the earliest stages of this game it seemed peak excitement may have been reached back in the late afternoon when referee Robert Harvey decided a second pitch inspection was needed to decide whether a ball could be kicked at all. That notion was comprehensively dispelled by the end.
There had still been little of beauty to speak of but the very end was thrilling, with Bohemians coming close to rescuing a point from a game in which, having battled bravely, they looked set to be well beaten.
Keith Long had last week lamented the way in which his own players’ errors had contributed so handsomely to Derry’s big win at Dalymount.
And while they worked ever so hard to make amends at Tallaght Stadium, they undid just about all of the good work with a few seconds of spectacularly slipshod defending 10 minutes into the second period. This allowed Shamrock Rovers what proved to be their decisive breakthrough.
Until then Stephen Bradley’s side had been the better one, but it was not entirely clear where their goal was going to come from.
Bohemians showed a worrying tendency to live by their wits around their own six-yard box on occasion, but Shane Supple wasn’t exactly kept busy and pretty much the only shot on target the home side had been able to muster over the course of a poor, though heavy pitch affected first-half, was a curling Darren Meenan free that flew into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Left back Trevor Clarke had looked to be their most dangerous player back then with the defender popping up on the overlap at one point to pull a low drive just wide of the far post.
He later arriving more unexpectedly in the centre to swoop on a loose Jamie Doyle block but then dragged his first-time shot well wide the other way.
Long made changes at half-time in the hope that his side might get more of a foothold on things ,but as his players tired, things started to look more precarious at the back.
Then Simon Madden won possession 25 yards out and sent in a low cross that one of the substitutes, Stephen Best, should have cut out.
Instead, it reached Brandon Miele and, despite having two more defenders in his path, the midfielder coolly made space for himself before powering home from inside the area.
Michael O’Connor made it 2-0 from close range after Ryan Connolly had initially looked to have delayed too long on the ball.
The locals began to gloat loudly, and they merrily cranked things up when one of their rivals’ former favourites, Roberto Lopes, was brought on by Bradley.
However, between the goals Dean Casey and Ian Morris both went close to pulling their side back into things, and in the 90th minute they finally got their goal with George Poynton scoring from the spot after Danny Devine had become embroiled in a spat with Best inside the area.
The Bohemians bench erupted moments later when the visitors reckoned that they should have had a second penalty, this one for handball, but Harvey wasn’t having it.
Rovers held on but Devine was lucky not to get himself into trouble at the final whistle when he squared up to Best again.
He and his new team-mates have a long, long way to go if they are be taken seriously as title contenders but derby winners counts for a fair bit in these parts on nights like this.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Chencinski; Madden, Devine, Webster, Clarke; McAllister; Meenan, Finn, Connolly (Lopes, 76 mins), Miele (69 mins); Boyd (O’Connor, 66 mins).
BOHEMIANS: Supple; Pender, Corwall, Byrne (Best, half-time), Fitzgerald; Morris; Poynton, Kavanagh, Gannon, Doyle (Simon, 85 mins); Corcoran (Casey, half-time).
Referee: R Harvey (Dublin).