Friday 24 January 2020

Talbot Saves Bohs

FAI CUP 2nd round
Bohemians 1 Longford 1 (AET, Bohs win 5-4 pens)

DUEL: Bohs’ Andre Wright and Longford Town’s Michael McDonnell compete for the ball at Dalymount Park Pic: Sportsfile
DUEL: Bohs’ Andre Wright and Longford Town’s Michael McDonnell compete for the ball at Dalymount Park Pic: Sportsfile

If Bohemians are to go all the way in the FAI Cup this season they will go about it the hard way as they were pushed to the brink of an exit by Longford Town before a dramatic win in a penalty shoot out.

Ninety minutes of football could not provide a goal, though we came close to one when Longford missed a penalty with nine minutes to go, and a two-goal burst in opening stages of extra time had the teams level at 1-1, but it still needed a penalty shoot-out to separate the two sides.

And the key moment was when Bohs keeper James Talbot saved from his opposite number Lee Steacy, Bohs winning 5-4 in sudden death.

In the Gypsies' most recent game, also a Cup tie, they had been four goals scored before the half time break and the club's last three matches had delivered an astonishing 23 goals.

But scores were hard to come by last night. Longford looked at ease early on and had some moments where they looked like they could punish Bohs but the final product was not there.

Bohs tried to move up a gear but Longford, being overseen by caretaker manager Daire Doyle after Neale Fenn's sudden exit, stood firm.

The Gypsies thought they were in front on 31 minutes, James Finnerty with a header from Mandroiu's cross but referee Paul Tuite deemed that the ball had not crossed the line, and just before the break a good ball from Mandroiu put Keith Buckley in sight of goal but his shot was straight at keeper Lee Steacy.

Former Bohs keeper Steacy came up with his best save of the night on 63 minutes, reaching out one hand to keep out a diving header by Wright which looked certain to go in, only for Steacy's intervention.

Bohs were very nervous indeed in the last ten minutes. First, they needed a goal-line clearance from Darragh Leahy to keep out an effort from Dean Byrne, while nine minutes from the end of normal time, Wade-Slater punished for a shove on Anto Breslin in the box and referee Tuite pointed to the spot, but Verdon's spot kick came off the post and away to safety.

Deadlocked after 90 minutes, the sides found their goal touch in extra time. Andre Wright gave the home fans some relief when his close range shot put them in front a minute into added time but two minutes later, Longford were level, a stunning drive from Jack Doherty.

Substitute Doherty was keen to make his mark and his well-struck shot 12 minutes into added time forced Talbot to make a superb save, fellow sub Peter Hopkins also going close for an impressive Longford outfit, sub Ross Tierney trying to nick one for Bohs deep into extra time.

But penalties were needed and after misses by Mandroiu and Dean Byrne, it fell to Talbot to deny Steacy and keep Bohs in the Cup.


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