Bohemians 2 - 1 LinfieldSat, Apr 03 2010
The win meant it was a good day for Bohs boss Pat Fenlon in his reunion with the side he played for in the mid nineties and puts The Gypsies in a strong position ahead of the second leg in two weeks time, especially as away goals do not apply in this competition.
Speaking after the match Fenlon explained that he was pleased with the result but not completely satisfied with the display: “We won the game and that’s the main thing I suppose, but we need to start the game a bit better than we did”. Fenlon felt that they hadn’t matched up physically in the early going but had come back well. “There’s no doubt about character in this club”.
There was a real ebb and flow to first half events. Bohemians had a series of set piece chances but failed to capitalise on any of them. Killian Brennan, in as a late replacement for Anto Murphy who hurt his Achilles in the warm up, hit a thirty yard free kick up and over the wall in the 14th minute and Stuart Addis flung himself to his right to tip round the post. Three corners followed in rapid succession but also failed to yield a goal for the home side, Rafael Cretaro glancing the best chance wide from no more than three yards out.
The Blues made Bohs pay in the 17th minute. Brian McCaul sent in the cross from the right wing and Mark McAllister, impressive throughout the game, rose to head past Chris O’Connor. This led to a spell where Linfield largely controlled events with the home side struggling to get back into the match.
However it was now Linfield’s turn to spurn set piece chances. Damien Curran had a free kick comfortably saved by Chris O’Connor and largely poor deliveries from corners meant that they weren’t able to build on their lead.
In the 43rd minute the Gypsies got right back into the game. Cretaro’s hard work won a corner on the left. Keegan’s corner, Bohemians sixth of the half, was his best of the day and Ken Oman soared highest of all to bury a header to Addis’ left.
There was a distinct lack of flow to events to begin the second half. A series of offsides and niggling fouls meant it was a very stop start affair and Linfield’s Ervin and Kane both received yellow cards from referee Tomas Connolly.
The key moment came in the 67th minute when Killian Brennan was fouled in a good position on the edge of the box. Marcus Kane was the guilty party and having already been booked, he was shown a second yellow and then a red card.
Linfield boss David Jeffery said afterwards that he was “bitterly disappointed” with the red card and the obvious impact it had on the game, saying that there had been no consistency in how ref Connolly applied the rules, bemoaning the fact that yet again, we are talking about the referee after a brilliant game.
Urged on by a boisterous home crowd, Bohemians pushed for a winner and Cretaro had a great chance in the 81st minute when through one on one with the goalkeeper but he was unable to hold his nerve and the chance was saved.
He made amends just five minutes later though when in an almost identical situation and this time kept his composure and chipped exquisitely past Addis.
Jason Byrne, on as a sub, almost added a third in stoppage time but his drive crashed back off the post.
Both sides now turn their attention to big games on Tuesday night. Linfield face Glentoran where a win would virtually wrap up the league title and Bohemians host St Pats in an early season top of the table clash.
Apart from Anto Murphy’s Achilles injury Fenlon reported no major worries ahead of Tuesday’s game. “He might have a chance for Friday but Tuesday is a bit early”. Skipper Owen Heary has a slight shin injury but should be fit.
Bohemians: Chris O’Connor, Owen Heary (c), Conor Powell, Mark Rossiter (Cronin 64), Ken Oman, Killian Brennan, Paul Keegan, Raffaele Cretaro, Brian Shelley, Mark Quigley (Gary Burke 74), Aaron Greene (Jason Byrne 64)
Subs not used: Barry Murphy, Jason McGuinness, Anto Murphy, Paddy Madden
Linfield: Stuart Addis, Michael Gault, William Murphy (c), Damien Curran, Aaron Burns, Mark Miskimmin (Michael Carvill 70), Jim Ervin, Brian McCaul, Mark McAllister (Paul Munster 83), Marcus Kane, Chris Casement
Subs not used: Alan Blayney, Steven Douglas, Aidan O’Kane, Curtis Allen, Jamie Tometty
Man of the Match: Damien Curran