Jim O'Sullivan

False dawn: Bohs

Bohemians 1 Johnville 2

Games between Bohemians and Johnville are never dull and this latest meeting of the old rivals lived up to everything that was expected on Wednesday last.

The three goals scored were packed into the final six minutes of the first half but the rest of the game also produced plenty in the way of talking points.

Bohemians went into the match on a total of eight points. In their previous game they had defeated Hibernians without any difficulty but they have been blowing hot and cold all season and unfortunately from their point of view they were off the boil here.

Johnville had not played a league game for some time due to the bad weather and their involvement in the Munster Cup. They had a total of six points and were bottom of the league. They had also played one more game than their opponents so they knew that a win would not only move them ahead of Bohs but would also leapfrog them over Hibs and Dungarvan who were locked to together on seven points.

So it was a massive game in every respect for the St Johns Park club and they came through with flying colours. They had to be extremely grateful to their goalkeeper, Thomas Gahan, because he produced a truly wonderful save during the course of the second half.

Bohs did take the lead, but Johnville fought back manfully and deserved their victory.

Trio of goals

Johnville took the game to their hosts during the opening minutes and they created a few half-chances. Gary Kelly, a player who is improving with every game, set up Valdo Bulvas after seven minutes but the in-form striker shot high over the crossbar.

The visitors went on the attack once again on 19 minutes with James Starmer setting up Declan Phelan who controlled the ball with his left foot but he shot wide from a good position when really he should have made Bohs goalkeeper Andrew Halligan work.

Two minutes later Bohs could have taken the lead. Their ‘keeper threw the ball out to Gary Keane and he displayed wonderful skill before delivering the ball into the path of Kenny Purcell; he played a one-two Alan Quinlan before shooting hard at goal from outside the penalty area but the ball went inches over Gahan’s crossbar.

Bohemians did however take the lead on 39 minutes. Andrew Denn got in a superb cross from the left wing which the Johnville defence failed to deal with and Alan Quinlan took full advantage to crash the ball to the net from just inside the penalty area.

Johnville fought back manfully and they scored the equaliser two minutes later in fine style. Valdo Bulvas took a pass from James Starmer who in turn played the ball forward to Gary Kelly and he gave Andrew Halligan no chance whatsoever from 10 yards.

One minute later the game was turned on its head completely when Johnville took the lead. Gary Kelly played a fine ball into the Johnville penalty area and referee Paul O’Keeffe had no option but to point to the penalty spot when Andrew Halligan hauled down by defender Robbie O’Keeffe. Valdo took the spot kick and he gave Halligan no chance.

Bohemians had a chance to go in level at half-time. Deep into time added on, Alan Quinlan crossed from the right into the path of Gary Keane but the talented youngster blasted the ball high over the crossbar.

Brilliant save

Bohemians went all out when the second half got underway and they were denied an equaliser on 52 minutes. Kenny Purcell somehow managed to get free inside a crowded penalty area to get his head on to the end of a cross from Alan Quinlan but Thomas Gahan pulled off a brilliant save, turning the ball around his upright.

Brian Nolan, the younger brother of Eddie, the Preston North End player, was brought on after 57 minutes and he made a difference to Bohemians as he did everything possible to try and unlock the Johnville defence with some fine work, especially out wide.

He created a chance for Gary Keane on 86 minutes but Keane dragged his shot well wide. Bohs threw the kitchen sink at Johnville in the dying minutes and Matthew Billingham set up Kenny Purcell, but he was also wide of the target.

There is still a long way to go in this relegation struggle, and both teams went away to prepare for games on Sunday. Bohs had Southend United on their minds while Johnville had to travel to play Waterford Crystal.

Bohemians: Andrew Halligan, Leo Jacques, Andrew Denn, Stephen Walsh, Liam Meagher, Kevin Whittle, Matthew Billingham, Robbie O’Keeffe, Gary Keane, Alan Quinlan, Kenny Purcell. Subs: Brian Nolan for Whittle (57 mins), John O’Brien for Denn (83 mins).

Johnville: Thomas Gahan, Alan Ryan, Declan Phelan, John Kennedy, Paul Cleary, Dan Murphy, Anthony Phelan, Valdo Bulvas, James Starmer, Gary Kelly, John Wall. Subs: Kristian Walsh for Wall (73 mins), James Fatumusa for Starmer (90 mins).

Referee: Paul O’Keeffe.