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Bohemians gearing up for clash with in-form Sligo Rovers

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

4:43 PM - 24 May 2019



Bohemians boss Keith Long wants his players to be a bit more street-wise as they attempt to consolidate their position in the Premier Division table past the halfway point of the SSE Airtricity League.

On Monday, the 18th game of the 36-game season ended in an agonising 2-1 defeat to the champions Dundalk who, for a second time this season, needed a last gasp penalty to earn a home win against the Gypsies who remain third.

To make things worse, Bohemians lost midfielder Danny Grant to a hamstring injury while his replacement Ryan Graydon was given a red card early in the second half.

"It was a gut-wrenching injury-time defeat away, which consigned us to our second reversal to Dundalk in 10 days and a third defeat in just over a month against them," Long said.

"Having gone ahead in the game with an expertly taken goal from Danny Grant, things started to unravel for us just before half-time when Danny pulled up. Ryan, who replaced Danny, was shown two yellows in the space of 12 second-half minutes.

"The first looked a little soft and the second one, although it was a booking, was exaggerated by Daniel Cleary who quickly got to his feet to take the resulting free-kick.

"Ryan realised immediately. I'm not blaming the ref as we gave him a decision to make and we need to be better in those moments."

Long praised his team for showing great tenacity in almost coming away from Oriel Park with a point but felt that their performance showed some naivety.

"Being a man down proved difficult. We had no real outlet but we defended resolutely with the occasional counter-attack.

"James made a couple of fantastic saves after the equaliser, which kept the game alive for us until injury-time when we broke and should have scored a winner with Robbie McCourt failing to make enough contact with Danny Mandroiu cross.

"But that highlighted one of the significant differences between us and Dundalk at this time. Danny was actually fouled in the penalty area before crossing to Robbie, but Danny stayed on his feet trying to create a goal-scoring opportunity.

"If that was a Dundalk player, they would have hit the ground and would have given the ref a decision to make. We need to be cuter in these moments and learn from this horrible feeling.

"The concession of another late penalty to decide the game was a dagger to the heart but, again, we have to do better.

"We are young. We have - and will continue to - make mistakes. But we must learn quickly how to manage moments in games better if we are to progress and continue to move forward."

Graydon will be suspended for Bohemians' game against Sligo Rovers at Dalymount Park on Friday night (k/o: 19:45).

Grant joins Cristian Magerusan (cruciate) on the sidelines while Rob Cornwall (Achilles), Kevin Devaney (groin) and Keith Ward (ankle) are all doubts.

Buckley expects Bohemians backlash

The Bit O' Red are in seventh place and 10 points behind Friday night's hosts heading into the Dalymount Park clash.

Liam Buckley's side are on a good run of form though, unbeaten in their last six matches (W2 D4), with their last two games ending in draws against Derry City last Saturday and Waterford seven days previously.

"In Waterford it was such an open game where a draw was probably fair in the end and then last week it was extremely tight and again that outcome was the right one," Buckley said.

"We have to keep on persevering to get results. You saw again during the week some really nip and tuck matches that could have gone either way. It’s just the way the league is."

The visitors will be looking to avenge their 2-0 loss at home to Bohemians in April but the former St Patrick's Athletic manager expects a bit of a backlash after their hosts' disappointment on Monday night.

"We have to go graft in Dalymount to try to get a result because that’s the case in every game you play. Bohs will feel hard done by with the concession of such a late penalty so I have no doubt they’ll be looking to react to that.

"From our end, we’ve had a good week of training and we have a couple of decisions to make for the team selection.

"Niall Morahan is out which is unfortunate as he has made a good contribution this year. He has that ability to play in midfield or at right-back.

"I think he only turns 19 before the end of the month so the progress he has made has been excellent and he’ll be back involved soon I’m sure.

"We’ve got a couple of tough away matches coming up, starting on Friday but we’ll go there looking to give a good account of ourselves."



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