Shamrock Rovers paid the price for a casual approach as ten man Bohemians fought back in the second half to draw 1-1 in a cagey Dublin derby.
Rovers now lie two points behind league leaders Sligo Rovers and though they have a game in hand Michael O’Neill’s side will not have gained any confidence as Bohs frustrated their attacking ability and rattled by Glen Cronin’s equaliser on the hour the Hoops never threatened to make the extra man count.
After a slow opening fifteen minutes the game suddenly awoke Gary McCabe’s tackle on Killian Brennan earned him a yellow card and the home crowd got riled by picky referee Derek Tomney’s first involvement of the night.
Minutes later Gary Twigg’s stinging volley forced former Rovers keeper Barry Murphy into the first save of the night.
Rovers then began to create more chances and won series of corners and after 32 minutes Billy Dennehy’s in swinger was met by the head of Dan Murray, who powered the ball into the top corner.
Rovers were firmly on top and Bohs conservative tactics began to look counter productive and Pat Fenlon’s men did little to threaten, it looked for a while that the home side would win at a canter.
Just before the break Stephen Rice was harshly judged to have fouled Aidan Downes on the edge of the box.
Brennan’s curling shot hit the post and Downes controlled the rebound only to go down in the box under pressure from Craig Sives, the referee blew the whistle and as the home supporters drew breath to protest the soft penalty the referee was showing Downes his second yellow of the game for diving.
Sensing that this game was all but over O’Neill withdrew Twigg at half time for Ciaran Kilduff and Rovers were happy to pass the ball casually while Bohs sat back for the opening stage of the second half.
From the sidelines Fenlon urged his men forward and as Rovers showed no threat of their own the players and fans began to feel that there was something in the game for the Northsiders.
On the hour they got their reward and Rovers never found their second gear despite creating a number of chances late on, Dennehy’s last minute wide volley flew high over the bar and despite the late pressure Bohs looked good for the point.