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Wednesday 18 October 2017

New boy Best shines as Bohs earn a draw

THE oldest club in the top flight pitched one of their youngest-ever first team players into the starting XI for a big Dublin derby - and got their reward as young defender Stephen Best helped Bohemians come away from Tallaght Stadium with a hard-fought point.

With two experienced defenders unavailable, Bohs boss Keith Long had to take a risk by asking Best, who only turned 18 two weeks ago, to fill in at centre half.

Best's family background would suggest that he's an attacker - his uncle is Ireland and Brighton striker Leon Best - but on his full league debut, he looked a natural defender as Bohs frustrated Rovers in a very ordinary 0-0 draw. Too many draws hurt Rovers last season and almost cost the Hoops a place in Europe and while it's very early days in the 2015 season, two 0-0 draws from their three home league games so far could also prove costly.

Defence had been a strong point for both clubs who had each conceded in just one of their previous four league games. And defences were very much on top.

Paddy Kavanagh, one of four ex-Hoops in the Bohs starting XI, came up with the first real chance of note, firing wide on 11 minutes. On the half-hour mark, Bohs' young defender Stephen Best was beaten for pace by Mikey Drennan but Best recovered well to snuff out the danger.

Rovers had a decent chance on 37 minutes when Dave Webster got his head to Sean O'Connor's free kick but the effort was over the bar, and three minutes from half time, Bohs needed keeper Dean Delany at his best to bravely save at the feet of Keith Fahey.

Hoops boss Pat Fenlon looked to his bench, bringing on Ryan Brennan and Kieran Marty Watters. The subs combined well on 78 minutes, Watters' cross providing the chance for Brennan but keeper Delaney made a superb save, and Delaney again was the hero 10 minutes from time, palming away Brennan's strike after a goalmouth scramble.

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