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Bohs back in the hunt

WE HAVEN'T gone away, you know -- Bohemians paraphrased the famous words of Gerry Adams in relation to a certain paramilitary grouping as they eased some of their recent worries with a 2-0 win at home to Bray Wanderers last night.

It wasn't so much a case of a vibrant Bohs defiantly roaring right back into the title race as a home win over bottom-of-the-table Bray is something that's expected by the home fans at Dalymount, though Bohs did have to dig deep at times and a bright, well-drilled, young Bray side certainly did not look like a team of basement dwellers.

But there is cause for optimism for Bohs as the win moved them back into the top three, now just two points behind St Patrick's Athletic and five adrift of leaders Shamrock Rovers, while another plus for the Gypsies was a sparkling display by youngster Gary Burke, making his first league start on the left side of midfield.

"Last night was a chance for us to make a statement that we are the reigning champions, this team won the league two years in a row and we're not going away," said Raff Cretaro, the hero for Bohs last night as he scored a goal in each half, ending his own three-month goal famine.

"We're five points off the lead with 11 games to go and while it will be hard to haul that back, it's not impossible as there are a few more twists and turns to come in the league yet.

"Last week St Pats lost to Bray, last night Sligo Rovers beat Shamrock Rovers in the League Cup and Sligo are on a real run of form now so points will be won and lost.

"All we can do is try to keep up the pressure and hope that it's enough. We had a look at the next few fixtures for us and there's no reason why we can't go on a bit of a run now. It will be hard to win back the league now as Rovers have that five-point lead and it is probably their league to lose.

"But if we can get our heads down and concentrate on keeping clean sheets, and get the likes of myself, Jason Byrne and Paddy Madden to nick a goal -- which we have been lacking in the last while -- then we have a chance.

"We have to get back to basics, clean sheets mainly, as we have conceded a lot of goals of late and we're not defending as a team.

"So the win last night is good, we're up two places in the table and that's good for confidence but we have to move it on to Dundalk on Friday as that's a game we have to win now too," added Cretaro.

Bohs boss Fenlon has shown his displeasure with recent displays by wielding the axe at Dalymount; after a 3-0 collapse against Shamrock Rovers he made five changes to the starting XI for the next game at home to Galway but that 2-0 defeat also provoked a reaction as last night's selection had another five changes from the side which lost to the Tribesmen.

Bray lost the impressive Shane O'Neill to injury and that coincided with the opening goal for Bohs, Cretaro beating Matt Gregg from close range for his first league goal since April.

The second half brought chance after chance for Bohs but again the cutting edge eluded them, while Bray put some very nice moves together.

It was set up for a nervous finish for the home fans but Cretaro eased their fears when he netted his second goal seven minutes from time, a good move started by the lively Glenn Cronin as Jason Byrne set up Cretaro.

"It was nice to get the two goals and I could have had a hat-trick which would have been amazing as it would have been the first of my career," Cretaro added.

"But the main thing is the three points, the last few weeks have not been the best for the club, on and off the field, so it's a relief just to win the game and it doesn't matter who scores as long as we win.

"But I will take confidence from the goals and hopefully that might spark me into a run of form now. I think confidence was low for all the front players.

"Now we move on to Dundalk and Drogheda for the next two games."