Dundalk FC's Patrick Hoban and Dan Casey of Bohemians during tonight's SSE Airtricity League Premier Division clash at Oriel Park. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Dundalk FC 2-0 Bohemians
Dundalk FC returned to the top of the Premier Division table on Sunday night with a club record 11th consecutive league victory.
The win over Bohemians also extends their unbeaten run to 17 matches in all competitions ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League tie with AEK Larnaca.
Despite making just the one change to his team from the scoreless first leg with the Cypriots, with Dean Jarvis replacing Dane Massey at left back, the Lilywhites started sluggishly and could have gone behind on a couple of occasions, most notably when Gary Rogers stopped Daniel Kelly’s low drive.
The service to the league’s leading scorer, Patrick Hoban, was lacking as Bohs kept it tight defensively, but they were unable to prevent Seán Hoare’s towering front post header on 31 minutes; the defender emphatically nodding Michael Duffy’s inswinging corner past Shane Supple.
Continuing his great run of form, Chris Shields shone in Dundalk’s midfield and was integral to his side’s spells of dominance, repeatedly turning over possession as Bohs attempted to break. He was also the focal point in many of their probing plays.
A dubious-looking penalty awarding six minutes into the second half provided the hosts with a more comfortable advantage. Jarvis went down under the rather lazy challenge of Dan Casey and while the contact looked minimal, referee Robert Hennessey pointed straight to the spot. Hoban subsequently stepped up to fire home his 23rd goal of the campaign.
Patrick McEleney was one of those introduced by Dundalk during the course of a rather subdued final half hour, but not even he could engineer a third despite some neat touches.
In fact, Bohs enjoyed a spell of pressure. Ian Morris rattled the side-netting, while Keith Ward was twice denied; firstly striking the inside of the post before Brian Gartland cleared his follow-up effort off the line.
Nonetheless, Cork City’s tenure at the division’s summit, following Friday night’s win at Bray Wanderers, was brief and the new league leaders were applauded off by the majority of the 3,139 in attendance at full-time.
Dundalk FC: Gary Rogers; Seán Hoare, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Dean Jarvis; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson (Karolis Chvedukas 75); Dylan Connolly (Patrick McEleney 59), Jamie McGrath, Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban (Georgie Kelly 85)
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Dane Massey, John Mountney, Ronan Murray
Bohemians: Shane Supple; Andy Lyons, Dan Casey, Ian Morris, Darragh Leahy; Oscar Brennan (Dan Byrne 56), JJ Lunney (Keith Ward 59); Daniel Kelly, Keith Buckley, Kevin Devaney; Dinny Corcoran (Danny Grant 75)
Subs not used: Seán Bohan (gk), Paddy Kavanagh, Patrick Kirk, Eoghan Stokes
Referee: Robert Hennessey (Limerick)