The final Dublin Derby of the season was played in glorious conditions in Phibsboro, as Bohemian FC hosted relegation threatened St. Patricks Athletic, in what turned out to be one of the games of the season.
A quite breathtaking opening 16 minutes saw Bohs race into a 2-1 lead. Firstly, the extremely impressive Izzy Akinade smashed home a bullet header from Paddy Kavanagh’s in-swinging cross after just three minutes. But just as the Gypsies got back in position from the restart, Michael Barker clipped a delightful ball over the top for Christy Fagan to race onto. The Pat’s striker drilled home low and hard under Shane Supple to equalize immediately.
The drama continued as the visitors, desperately battling the drop, found themselves down to 10 men as Gavin Peers dragged down Akinade inside the area, who was in clean through on goal. Dinny Corcoran kept his composure to slot the ball home for his 14th league goal of the season.
Incredibly, the chances kept raining in, as that man again Akinade burst in from the right wing and again got one on one, but his toe-poked finish was turned around the near post by Lukasz Skowron.
Corcoran, and last week’s hero, Keith Ward, both had excellent chances to extend the lead with unmarked efforts from inside the box right before one of the saves of the season. Kavanagh, operating from the left wing, cut inside onto his right foot and curled an outstanding effort to the far top corner. But as most of the home support began to celebrate, Skowron had other ideas and somehow got his finger tips to the ball at the last second to claw it away.
Just six minutes into the second half, Bohs made the extra man count, extending their lead to 3-1. Paddy Kavanagh slipped through Akinade again, but Pat’s left back, Lee Desmond, made a brilliant last ditch tackle on the cover. Unluckily for the visitors and Desmond, the ball broke to the feet of Corcoran who calmy slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper.
The Saints showed amazing spirit, determination and never say die attitude. This was epitomized when Conan Byrne dragged his side back into the game. The right winger, and goal scorer of one of the goals of the season last time at this ground, cut inside Ian Morris and finished expertly with his left foot into the far corner. 3-2 and Game on.
In a quite enthralling finish to the game, Liam Buckley’s troops though they had got the all important equalizer, minutes later. Byrne, again causing all sorts of problems down the right, fired the ball across goal and Fagan’s miss had to be seen to be believed. Somehow, on the stretch, he managed to defy the laws of physics and lift the ball onto the bar and bounced out from near enough on the line. Derek Pender showed immense bravery throwing his body on the line when it looked like sub, and ex-Bohs man Kurtis Byrne, looked set to volley home the rebound.
The home side managed to see out the remaining few minutes taking all three points and, in doing so, almost guaranteeing their safety. Meanwhile, the games are running out for the Saints as they look to avoid the dreaded drop with Monday’s game against Shamrock Rovers now a must win.
Bohemian FC: Shane Supple, Derek Pender, Warren O’Hora, Dany Byrne, Rob Cornwall, Ian Morris, Fuad Sule, Patrick Kavanagh, Keith Ward, Dinny Corcoran, Ismahil Akinade
Subs: Colin McCabe, Philip Gannon, Ciaran O’Connor, Eoghan Morgan, Dan Casey, Georgie Poynton, Dylan Hayes
St. Patrick’s Athletic FC: Lukasz Skowron, Michael Barker, Gavin Peers, Owen Garvan, Conan Byrne, Graham Kelly, Christy Fagan, Killian Brennan, Lee Desmond, Jordi Balk, Billy Dennehy
Subs: Pat Jennings, Jonathan Lunney, Darragh Markey, Kurtis Byrne, Paul O’Connor, Josh O’Hanlon, Ian Turner
Referee: Ben Connolly