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Thursday 14 November 2019

Keith is key for Gypsies

Bohemians 1 St Patrick's Athletic 0

Keith Buckley celebrates his goal against St Patrick’s Athletic in last night’s Premier Division clash at Dalymount Park
Keith Buckley celebrates his goal against St Patrick’s Athletic in last night’s Premier Division clash at Dalymount Park

Those predictions of a relegation battle for Bohemians this season look more ridiculous by the week, Keith Long's side pulling off yet another night of Dalymount Park magic to stay in touch with the race for a European place.

Home form has been strong for Bohs this season, while their record in Dublin derbies is now three wins from three, a first half goal from Keith Buckley enough to earn a 1-0 win at home to St Patrick's Athletic.

But that early-season promise from the Saints looks like a distant memory as the Saints slid into the bottom four after yet another goal-free evening.

With three successive away games in the league on the way due to a reshuffle of the fixture list, Bohemians needed to make home advantage count and they did just that in front of a crowd of 3,634, Buckley's goal enough to win this tense Dublin derby and earn the three points which keeps Keith Long's side nestled nicely into the top three, only a point off second place.

Smiles all round in Phibsboro so, another full house good news for the club's bank account.

But there are clearly clouds over Inchicore, even more bad news last night as Mikey Drennan, the only man to have scored for the Saints this season, was sent off on 76 minutes, Pat's with an urgent need for goals in the absence he faces due to suspension.

There were whispers of a title tilt from the Dublin 8 club after they began the campaign with back to back wins.

But 2019 has turned out to be more of a trial than a treat, this their fifth game without a win, and with just one goal scored in the last five, Pat's fans are wondering where the next goal, let alone victory, will come from.

Bohs, of course, had home advantage but it didn't look that way early on as Pat's owned the ball for long spells, and it took Keith Long's side until the 31st minute to really trouble Saints keeper Brendan Clarke. But for all their possession, Pat's were unable to muster up much in terms of attacks on goal, and that has been the story of their season.

On 19 minutes, a Chris Forrester header tried to set up Drennan but the opportunity fizzled out, and two minutes later Brandon Miele saw his shot blocked by James Finnerty.

Spark

The first threat of any kind from Bohs came on 22 minutes when a shot by former Saint Dinny Corcoran was blocked by Simon Madden.

That chance seemed to spark Bohs into life as they began to take control, a chance from Danny Grant before Keith Ward's free kick struck the woodwork.

And two minutes from half time, the home side took the lead. Saints keeper Brendan Clarke had done well to keep out a Corcoran shot but his goal was left exposed as Buckley followed up the rebound and slotted home his first goal of the season.

Boss Harry Kenny must have had some words at the half time break as Pat's looked like they had the potential to threaten in the second half, but bar long throw-ins they had little to offer.

And they lost Drennan on 76 minutes, the Kilkenny lad booked for a foul and then instantly booked a second time tor dissent, his dismissal leaving the Saints with a real challenge,

Bohs looked more likely to score, Corcoran going close on 80 minutes while sub Daniel Mandriou, on a high after his Ireland U21 debut last weekend, also posed a threat.

U21 team boss Stephen Kenny was among the crowd at Dalymount Park and while stand-out man Ward is clearly ineligible, due to old age on Ward's part, Kenny will have come away impressed, not only with left back Darragh Leaghy but centre half James Finnerty, who helped keep another clean sheet last night.

Trips to Sligo Rovers, Finn Harps and Dundalk will test Bohs' mettle in the weeks ahead but Pat's need to find a cure for their ills before they drop further.

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