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A fiercely competitive game at Dalymount Park saw St. Patrick's Athletic come out the 1-0 victors against Bohemians on Friday night, as Ciaran Kilduff's first goal of the season proved the difference to put Pats' season back on track.
Pats were the dominant side from the off as an early chance fell to striker Kilduff from the tip-off. The striker found himself free of his marker in oceans of space behind the Bohemians defence but the former Shamrock Rovers forwards' shot tamely hit the side netting of the goal.
Bohs more than stood their ground throughout the first half as captain Derek Pender admirably led his team, linking up with striker Dean Kelly to expose the space along the right hand side of the Pats defence.
The game exploded into activity after twenty-five minutes as a string of chances for both sides failed to put a goal on the scoreboard.
A teasing Lorcan Fitzgerald free kick on the left hand side of the Pats box was curled into the penalty area just missing the efforts of Dean Kelly and Derek Pendergrast to knock it past Conor O'Malley to put the home side ahead.
Next came an onslaught of missed opportunities for the visitors as Liam Buckley's side asked questions of a shaky Bohemians defence visibly flustered by their inability to overhaul Pats' possession game.
Crosses either side of the pitch from full-backs Ger O'Brien and Ian Bermingham were both headed on by a lively Ciaran Kilduff, however each chance failed to threaten Dean Delany's goal.
But the goal finally came for Pats after an enduring period of possession play found Chris Forrester unmarked and under no pressure in the middle of the field. The midfielder thread a cutting-edge ball through to eliminate the Bohemians midfield and play in Conan Byrne, whose initial shot was saved by Delany. The ball fell to unmarked striker Kilduff who tapped into an empty net to put Pats 1-0 up going into half time.
The second half began more encouragingly for Bohs as Karl Moore found himself with a pocket of space on the right wing. The midfielder attempted to dribble past Pats defender Ger O'Brien but was eventually caught and tackled inside the visitor’s penalty area.
The long balls and aimless play from Pats' first half display was discarded as the Saints sat back on their lead for much of the second period.
Hard-hitting tackles from defenders Anto Murphy combined with strength and composure from Keith Buckley in midfield meant that Bohs always had the potential to break at any moment. A Marc Griffin cross had fans anticipating the equaliser but the outstretched Dean Kelly failed to make a connection to steer the ball home.
A dangerous cross into the Bohemians penalty area was not dealt with properly as Ciaran Kilduff turned his marker to be brought down by the outstretched leg of former Pats defender Lorcan Fitzgerald to concede a penalty.
The usually consistent converter for Pats Killian Brennan stepped up but his tame effort was saved brilliantly by Bohs goalkeeper Delany; the keeper diving left to parry Brennan's limp effort.
Bohs drew confidence from the raucous crowd's enthusiastic reactions. A deep corner in the 73rd minute managed to evade Kelly, Pendergast and Fitzgerald as the ball journeyed through the Pats box in a frenzied moment of panic for both sides.
A misguided effort from twenty yards by Killian Brennan was to signal Pats' last chance of the game. A final Bohs ball lofted into the visitors penalty area by Anto Murphy was met by the head of Derek Pendergast, however the defenders effort, like all on the night, lacked the finish to force a goal and was saved by the diving efforts of Pats goalkeeper O'Malley as all three points headed back to Inchicore.
Bohemians: Dean Delany; Derek Pender, Anto Murphy, Derek Pendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Patrick Kavanagh, Roberto Lopes, Kealan Dillon (David Mulcahy 76), Karl Moore (Adam Evans 52), Keith Buckley (Jason Byrne 72); Dean Kelly
Subs not used: Lee Stacey (gk), James O'Brien, Stephen Best, Marc Griffin.
Bookings: Kavanagh (56).
St. Patrick's Athletic: Conor O'Malley; Ger O'Brien,Sean Hoare, Kenny Browne, Ian Bermingham; Conan Byrne, Killian Brennan (Conor McCormack 91), Greg Bolger, Aaron Greene, Chris Forrester (James Chambers 74); Ciaran Kilduff
Subs not used: Brendan Clarke (gk), Jason McGuinness, Jack Bayly, Sam Verdon, Morgan Langley
Bookings: Forrester (62), Bermingham (80).
Referee: Graham Kelly
Attendance: 2,400 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Derek Pender (Bohemians)