Villa’s Ian O’Sullivan and Bohs’ Gary Connors.

Villa’s Ian O’Sullivan and Bohs’ Gary Connors.

Bohemians 0; Villa 2

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Bohemians were rocked by a hard working Villa team in Ben Wadding Park on Saturday night last. Clem Fanning’s men went into the game two points clear of Waterford Crystal at the top of the league table but with a game more played, so there was little or no room for error, but a Villa team who are gearing up for a strong tilt at the Premier Cup appeared to be really up for the challenge and they ran the leaders into the ground, especially during the course of the first half.

In fairness to Bohemians they never stopped trying although it was clear to see that it was just not going to be their night. Bohemians remain on a total of 28 points from 15 games played. Their remaining games are against St Saviour’s, Tramore and Waterford Crystal.

Two goal blitz

It was a bitterly cold night but the Villa players took to their task from the opening whistle and they threatened after 16 minutes when full back Niall Henneberry went close with a long range lob which was held by Bohemians goalkeeper Geoff Kelly. Bohemians put together a good move 2 minutes later when Andrew Denn got in a cross from the left but Paul Walsh headed over the crossbar.

Geoff Kelly was called back into action again on 25 minutes when Des Mullett laid the ball off to Ian Cantwell who let fly from 20 yards but the home `keeper held on to Cantwell’s effort. David Whittle, the experienced Bohs defender, had to leave the field with a bad gash to his forehead and he was missing from the action for a period of seven minutes. He returned with his head heavily bandaged.

Villa took the lead in superb fashion on the half hour mark. A long ball was played out of defence by defender Ian O’Sullivan. Ian Cantwell took control of the ball and then played it forward to Paul Omotoso and he found the net with a delightful shot on the run from 25 yards. His low drive gave Geoff Kelly no chance whatsoever. Four minutes later the visitors went further in front. Eoin Ginnitty got a cross over from the right. Ian Tilson met the ball and made Geoff Kelly work with a hard close range shot. The ball came back off the Bohemians goalkeeper and following through Nicky Corcoran gleefully tucked the ball to the back of the Bohs net. Before half time the home side went close when Kevin Whittle played a short free kick to Alan Quinlan but his effort was tipped over the crossbar by the Villa goalkeeper Cian O’Brien.

Bohs pressure

Bohemians knew that they had to press forward at every opportunity if they wanted to get something from the game and 3 minutes into the second half Alan Quinlan was just off target with a free kick which was taken just outside the penalty area. Villa went close to scoring their third goal on 62 minutes when central defender Ian O’Sullivan thundered in a rocket of a free kick from all of 40 yards. The ball look destined for the Bohs net but Geoff Kelly somehow managed to tip the ball over his crossbar. The final ten minutes saw Bohemians pile forward in an attempt to pull a goal back. Gary Keane whipped in a corner kick from the left on 82 minutes. The ball was headed on by Kevin Whittle to Alan Quinlan but a tight defence kicked the ball clear. Kevin Whittle then had a header taken off the line by Danny Sheridan.

At the other end Ian Tilson almost caught Geoff Kelly with a cheeky lob from the right on 86 minutes. The Bohs goalkeeper had to back pedal to knock the ball away from danger. The Bohemians substitute Matthew Billingham then shot wide from a decent position 2 minutes from full time. Quite simply it was just not going to be their night.

Bohemians: Geoff Kelly, Kevin Whittle, Andrew Denn, David Whittle, Liam Maher, Paul Walsh, Bobby Keoghan, Robbie O’Keeffe, Alan Quinlan, Morgan Pender, Gerry Connors.

Subs: Stephen McLawrence for Keoghan (53 mins), Gary Keane for Denn (65 mins), Matthew Billingham for O’Keeffe (75 mins).

Villa: Cian O’Brien, Niall Henneberry, Eoin Ginnitty, Declan Furlong, Ian O’Sullivan, Paul Omotoso, Ian Cantwell, Nicky Corcoran, Ian Tilson, Conor McDonald, Des Mullett.

Subs: Danny Sheridan for Corcoran (46 mins), Jimmy Barry for McDonald (90 mins).

Ref: Paul O’Keeffe.