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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Garry Doyle

Bohs go top of the league after victory over St Pat's

When the shortlist of title contenders was drawn up before the start of the season one of these teams had their name on it.

But it wasn’t Bohs.

Instead the usual suspects were considered the likely lads again: defending champions Shamrock Rovers, FAI Cup holders Derry City, Dundalk and 2021 Cup winners, St Pat’s.

Now after five games, a revaluation process is underway.

Pat’s are struggling, this their third defeat in a week.

Bohs, in contrast, are flying. They’ve quality everywhere. From keeper James Talbot, who played his best game of the season here, right through to striker, Jonathan Afolabi, they looked a class apart.

Once again Ali Coote delivered, not just a performance, but specifically the cross that led to the game’s crucial opening goal on 17 minutes, Afolabi responding to it, firstly with some clever footwork to take him clear of the Pat’s defence, then with a superb leap and well directed header, to score.

That enhanced Bohs’ confidence which wasn’t exactly shaky to start with.

But with the cushion of a goal advantage, they really began to pass the ball with a rhythm and purpose that we simply didn’t see from them last year.

Then again, most of the personnel on show here weren’t at the club in 2022.

Boss Declan Devine has redesigned his team over the close season. So far all his signings have come good.

In Afolabi, he has huge hopes, not just because of the 23-year-old’s past - a place on the UEFA Under 19 team of the tournament four years ago - but also because of the here and the now.

The striker is fast, aggressive, good with his back to goal, unafraid to run at defenders in front of it.

If there’s a fault, it’s a lack of composure when shooting - which may change following last night’s goal.

One thing that desperately needs to change sharpish for St Pat’s is their results.

It is one thing losing 5-0 in Dundalk, another to lose to ten-men Sligo.

You can excuse those missteps as they were on the road.

But this is their supposed fortress. This is where they have to deliver.

That they didn’t last night comes down to Bohs’ effectiveness firstly, for Devine’s team are an energetic and technically excellent one.

But it also stems from what Pat’s failed to do.

Their passing lacked the necessary accuracy and pace to stretch the visiting defence; their midfield failed to get anywhere near as much possession as they needed.

Yes, their set-pieces were consistently dangerous, and yes the structure of their team was solid.

Their defeat didn’t stem from one manager tactically outsmarting the other, more from one team showing a lot more urgency in the formative stages of this game.

That’s an issue that was also noticeable in Pat’s earlier games against Derry and Dundalk, their best spells in each of those games coming after the break.

That pattern repeated itself here.

The third quarter was when they tested Bohs most. All of a sudden midfielder Vladislav Krieda was getting more time on the ball; all of a sudden Sam Curtis was getting space on the right.

Chances came, Jake Mulraney’s header being the best of them.

But Bohs remained calm as the pressure mounted.

And then when Jamie Lennon was sent off for a second yellow card on 73 minutes, the pattern of the match changed once again.

Down to 10 players and chasing a goal, Pat’s were vulnerable to counter attacks.

More goals could have come, Jordan Flores putting one shot over the bar; Kacper Radkowski’s header forcing a save from David Odumosu.

Eventually the second arrived when Odumosu panicked when attempting to clear a back pass. Grant Horton seized possession, looked up, spotted that Dean Williams was free, and slid a pass across to him. From six yards, Williams wasn’t going to miss.

In a way that moment summed up their seasons.

St Pat’s

Odumosu 7; McGrath 7, Redmond 7, Grivosti 6, Breslin 6; Lennon 7, Kreida 6; Curtis 6, Forrester 6, Mulraney 6; Lonergan 6


Noah Lewis 7 (Grivosti 15)

Serge Atakayi (Mulraney 70)

Eoin Doyle (Lonergan 70)

Conor Carty (McGrath 76)


Talbot 8; Horton 7; Nowak 8, Radkowski 8, Kirk 7; Flores 8, McManus 7; Coote 8, McDonnell 7, Akintunde 7; Afolabi 8

Subs: Williams (Afolabi 56)

McDaid (Akintunde 62)

McDonnell (Clarke 86)

Referee: Neil Doyle


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