Linfield 0 – 1 BohemiansMon, Apr 19 2010
After a dire run of form that has seen them take only two points from 12 in the Airtricity League, perhaps this was a welcome distraction for Pat Fenlon’s men.
UEFA seedings mean these two teams could well be drawn together on a much bigger stage in the Champions League later on in the summer, providing Linfield wrap up their own national championship this weekend. On this evidence however, it’s the Republic of Ireland champions who would be red hot favourites in that tie.
Bohemians looked comfortable at the back and dangerous on the break, with both Madden and Rafaelle Cretaro a constant threat on the counter in the first period.
It was Madden who unlocked the Blues defence after only four minutes. Paul Keegan’s ball over the top set the former Shelbourne loanee in on goal.
He took one touch and kept his nerve to hold off Steven Douglas and finish low underneath Alan Blayney. Blues’ keeper Blayney conspicuously opted to stay on his line despite Madden starting his clear run from almost thirty yards out.
A moment of indecision from Bohs’ Mark Rossiter almost gifted the home side an equaliser but Paul Munster couldn’t capitalise on Rossiter’s scuffed clearance. Munster’s shot bounced harmlessly into Barry Murphy’s hands.
That proved to be Linfield’s best opportunity of the first half, as they could only muster a couple of scrambled efforts following Munster’s 10th minute opportunity.
Bohs looked more likely to extend their lead with headers from both Cretaro and Jason Byrne forcing work from Alan Blayney.
Blues manager David Jeffrey’s half time team talk seemed to have an effect, as his side immediately had Bohemians on the back foot. Set pieces threatened for the home side all night and Michael Gault’s goalbound header was cleared off the line by Madden on 50 minutes.
Only thirty seconds later Bohs keeper Barry Murphy made his first real quality save, as he dived low to his left to stop Robert Garrett’s deflected strike.
Bohs struggled to hang on to possession in the second period and Madden and Byrne consistently found themselves chasing lost causes.
Linfield’s front two combined just before the hour mark to carve out their best chance of the game. Peter Thompson’s neat flick around the corner set Munster through, but the former Slavia Prague man slid his shot wide of Murphy’s post.
Thompson had his own chance five minutes later but directed his free header straight at the former Shamrock Rovers man.
Fenlon made a couple of shrewd changes and Bohemians closed out the game without much more incident. This performance should give Fenlon’s charges some much needed confidence, with two tough away games at Dundalk and Fingal coming up for the Gypsies.
There’s also the matter of the showpiece Setanta Cup Final to add to their diaries, which will take place in Tallaght on May 15th. Pete Mahon’s St. Patrick’s Athletic await in what will be the first ever all-Dublin final.
Linfield: Blayney, Burns (Bailie, 85), Douglas, Murphy, Burns ( Allen, 68), Carvill (Lowry 64), Garrett, Gault, Curran; Thompson, Munster.
Subs not used: Addis, Bailie, Ervin, McCaul, McAllister.
Bohemians: Murphy, Shelley, Oman, McGuinness, Rossiter (Powell, 79), Cretaro (Murphy 63), Keegan, Cronin, Brennan, Madden, Byrne (Quigley, 71).
Subs not used: O'Connor, Traynor, Burke, Greene.
Extratime Man of the Match: Jason McGuinness
Kevin Fagan is Chief Match Reporter for bohemianfc.com and has worked for Extratime since 2010. He is a long suffering Bohs fan and has seen the club win, and lose it all. He has an MA in Journalism from Independent Colleges, and has also contributed to Campus.ie and the Evening Herald. Contact / hurl abuse at him on Twitter via <a href="https://twitter.com/Kev_Fagan89">@Kev_Fagan89</a>