St. Patrick’s Athletic sink barren Bohemians FC

St. Patrick’s Athletic team before kick off.

Impressive Pat’s cruised to a 3–0 victory over north city rivals Bohemians, at home in Richmond Park Inchicore on Monday night. Christy Fagan bagged his third goal in as many matches this season, against his former employers either side of Mark Timlin and Billy Dennehey’s headed goals.

This Dublin derby was equally poised coming into the contest as both teams had lost their respective games on the opening day of the season, before regaining composure with the Saints picking up a first win against Longford Town and the Gypsies doing likewise against Shamrock Rovers the second day out. Both clubs with ambitions of derailing current holders Dundalk Utd, knew that this is the type of game they need to win in order to have any chance to be in the hunt to get a grip on the SSE Airtricity League Cup. After a three day turnaround from their wins on Friday night, their third match in 11 days and both lying side by side in seventh and eighth position on the table, the three points up for grabs here were all the more crucial.

A bitterly cold night on the south side, where the well wrapped up crowd of 1,718 brave-hearts in attendance huddled together, were treated to an entertaining affair. Tempers overflowed both on and off the pitch, as Ismahil Akinade saw red while former home favourite Mark Quigley who has 148 caps for the Saints was tauntingly “welcomed” back to Inchicore.

It was Pat’s that started the brighter. Ian Bermingham was causing all sorts of problems roving forward from left back encouraged by the Pat’s faithful close by on the stand side and his probing runs forward were rewarded. Good link up play between Fagan and Billy Dennehy who teed up “Bermo” to cross into the box where Mark Timlin headed home from five yards after just four minutes.

The home side’s dominance continued and talisman Fagan added to his personal haul this season with a headed goal after 13 minutes. Good movement from Billy Dennehy to unshackle himself from two defenders picked up a throw from Bermingham and delivered an inviting ball to Fagan who beat Dean Delaney in the Bohs goal.

Fagan could have added a second five minutes later, as a long ball forward by centre back Darren Dennehy resulted in a miss kick clearance by Derek Prendergast in the Bohs defence, the ball broke loose and Fagan broke through the centre only for his shot to be blocked by a superb last ditch sliding tackle from Bohs sweeper Roberto Lopez.

Mark Quigley floates in a free before half time

Although Pat’s were pinning Bohs back in their own half, Saints net minder Brendan Clarke was kept warm as a number of long hopeful balls forward towards Akinade, resulted in frees where Quigley found a teammates head from a cross or hit the target himself. Bohemians finished the half the stronger however, Keith Buckley along with Quigley provided leadership for a late resurgence in the last few minutes. 22 year old Nigerian born striker Akinade collided with Clarke in the box and cry’s for a penalty from the away faithful behind the goal were silenced as referee Padraig Sutton awarded a free out to bring the half to a close.

As the Pat’s supporters rushed to thaw their hands around a mug of tea at the interval the general consensus after the first half performance was to: “Keep it going”, and “so far so good” remarks which were murmured intermittently.

Yet Pat’s became a little too cosy it seems, after the restart Keith Long’s Bohs dominated possession for the first 20 minutes. It was nearly a reversal of performances from the first half as Eoin Wearen, Kurtis Byrne and Quigley were getting forward up the left channel, similar to Bermingham in the opening quarter. Leading from the back Lopez dealt with any hopeful punts forward from Pat’s and urged his players forward. Quality build up play and frequent deliveries into the Pat’s danger area resulted in no end product and after yet another cross whizzed by Clarke’s goal on the hour mark the home support were becoming frustrated and urged their players to wake up, calling on skipper Ger O’Brien to: “Get them going!”

That he did and after Akinade was shown his second yellow on 65 minutes for a late challenge on Shane McEleney, O’Brien and Billy Dennehy began to find space down the right. A vocally muted yet a composed quality performance from captain O’Brien in the last quarter steadied the ship from left back. Although substitutes Jake Kelly and Ayman Ben Mohammed injected a bit of life back into the Bohs performance towards the end, the extra man showed for Pat’s. O’Brien unleashed Graham Kelly down the left who linked up with substitute Conan Byrne, who’s cross to the back post was met by the head of man of the match Billy Dennehy who found the net. A deserved reward for his tireless work rate and attacking threat down the flanks over the course of the night.

Pat’s manager Liam Buckley was happy with his team’s performance on the night. Speaking after the victory he stated: “We had five or six or seven chances tonight and again I thought in the first half we played better than Bohs tonight…” but acknowledged that: “the second half was a bit iffy.”

Hoping goal scorer Fagan can keep his current run of form going and having had tendonitis in his knee for much of last year Buckley spoke of Fagan’s importance to the team: “He’s a top player, he links up particularly well, his touch is great, we did miss him last year but that’s all gone, hopefully he stays fit.”

Buckley also spoke highly of former Premier League player Keith Tracey who started his first competitive game this season for Pat’s: “He’s a top player as you can see, he is very comfortable on the ball, he will suit the way we play, you can play him in 3 or 4 different positions, his range of passing is terrific.”

This defeat means Bohs remain in eighth position while Pat’s climb to sixth. Bohs will look to get back to winning ways on Friday as they welcome struggling Wexford Youths to Dalymount Park , while Pat’s face into another Dublin Derby as they travel to Tallaght to lock horns with Shamrock Rovers who are joint leaders with Dundalk and unbeaten on nine points. Looking forward to the tie Buckley is aware of the task ahead: “We are in this to enjoy it, the lads are working hard, we are ready to go to Tallaght which is always a tricky place.”

After three games the league has sprung plenty of surprises but there will be many twists and turns to come, and when Pat’s make the trip across the city for the return fixture on June 29th, it will be as hotly contested as ever.