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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Paul O'Hehir

New era at Bohemians begins with 3-1 defeat at St Pats

DECLAN DEVINE stressed that Bohemians must walk before they can run when he launched his manifesto for reform ahead of this game.

And there’s any number of reasons for that as the Gypsies have managed to lurch from one sorry sob story to the next this season.

The new Bohs boss was looking on from the stand at a sold-out Richmond Park, awaiting his first official day in office come Monday morning.

READ MORE: Amber Barrett dedicates historic goal to Donegal explosion victims

But Devine isn’t alone in sensing that the Gypsies are a soft touch. The dogs on the street know it and St Pat’s hounded them in front of 5,106.

Serge Atakayi and Mark Doyle scored in the opening minutes of each half as St Pat’s painted Devine a clear picture of what’s needed.

Bohs, in response, were painting by numbers as they struggled to get to grips with a derby encounter in which they had little say.

Even James Clarke’s goal with seven minutes to go was false advertising. It came against the run of play and St Pat’s were never threatened.

And Tunde Owolabi saw to that with the home side’s third goal two minutes later, leaving Tadhg Ryan in a heap on his line.

Bohs axed Keith Long the last time these sides met - in late August - when the Saints also ran out 3-1 winners at Dalymount.

Devine’s appointment was left-field and the subdued travelling support can only hope he steadies the ship in what remains of a nightmare season.

City rivals St Pat’s and Shels have left the Gypsies in the shade and the Saints kept up their hunt for third spot and automatic European qualification.

Dundalk’s win at Harps means the Lilywhites maintain their one-point advantage, but Tim Clancy’s men have been nothing but tenacious of late.

They won’t have any intention of backing down.

Bohs actually started well but couldn’t capitalise, so their hosts showed them the way forward with a seventh minute opener.

A clipped ball out of defence was headed on by Eoin Doyle and Atakayi didn’t just burn Rory Feely for pace, he scorched him.

And the Saints ace showed brilliant composure to nutmeg Ryan, who Feely then rounded on for not coming off his line quick enough.

It was a pot and kettle confrontation, but the goal was a solid foundation for St Pat’s.

Saints played with more composure than Bohs, whose decision making left a lot to be desired at times.

Their best chance to pull level before the break fell to Jordan Doherty who unleashed a low, fizzing shot that flashed across Danny Rogers’ goal from distance.

Barry Cotter was like a Saints power surge down the right, generating ripples of excitement every time he got on the ball.

Bohs couldn’t handle his pace and power and Pat’s might have benefitted had his crosses been a touch more accurate - but the intent couldn’t be faulted.

Bohs looked to be in a spot of bother when Ryan went down with an injury after trying to deal with a corner in a crowded box.

Medical staff raced onto the pitch and appeared to work on a dislocated finger that prompted Under-17 goalkeeper Daithi Folan to strip.

But after a five-minute delay, Ryan was strapped up to play on and he put those mangled digits to good use by clawing a ferocious Cotter shot from the top corner.

The hosts introduced Mark Doyle at the break and he made a devastating first impression - scoring with his first touch just three minutes in.

Doherty was at full stretch in attempting to cut out Chris Forrester’s through ball, but to no avail and ended up on his backside.

Doyle had read the pass to perfection but now he had all the time in the world and, after a steadying touch, stabbed home low past Ryan with the aid of the far post.

By this stage, Bohs’ confidence was down around their knees although Clarke - their best player - gifted them an undeserved lifeline with a curling 20-yarder.

But Owolabi restored the Saints two-goal cushion moments later as the Saints went marching on while leaving Devine with plenty to ponder.


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