Classy Twigg keeps Rovers flying high

Shamrock Rovers maintained their unbeaten start to the Airtricity League Premier Division campaign with Gary Twigg’s fifth goal of the season and an injury-time second from Billy Dennehy helping the champions grind out victory at Tallaght Stadium last night.

The visitors, who picked up their first point of the campaign against St Patrick’s Athletic last Sunday, were understandably cautious in the early exchanges, with Danny Joyce protecting his back four in a five-man midfield.

After an uneventful opening, Bohemians were pierced wide open in the 13th minute from Ronan Finn’s driving run, with Twigg shooting wastefully at the legs of Andy McNulty from eight yards.

The same player was denied, this time by the whistle of referee Richie Winter, midway through the half with the Scotsman adjudged to have handled before firing into the far corner.

In the 24th minute, the Gypsies made their first foray into the opposition’s area but Adam Martin’s header had too much elevation following an inviting left-wing cross by Karl Moore.

That proved their only attack of the half as they focused primarily on thwarting the league leaders — and there was method to their game plan as Rovers becoming increasingly frustrated at their inability to puncture a heavily-manned Bohs defence.

Ten minutes before the interval, Finn unleashed a powerful drive that required a tip-over from McNulty and a Killian Brennan free three minutes later also went narrowly over but the lack of threat from Dennehy and Aaron Greene on the wings reflected a ponderous half for the Hoops.

The second-half started with Bohemians showing far greater appetite in attack with two enterprising moves down the right wing hinting at a more expansive approach and, more importantly, a greater belief in their ability to garner something from the game.

David Mulcahy and Evan McMillan continued to deal comfortably with the sporadic bits of pressure that the hosts could muster, while at theopposite end Dave Scully could have gained reward for his tireless efforts but his snap-shot from 16 yards flew narrowly wide of Oscar Jansson’s right-hand post in the 70th minute.

However, Rovers were always likely to exert greater pressure as the half progressed and Twigg’s ability to plunder a goal at the most opportune time was again evident in the 78th minute as he turned onto Finn’s pass before curling a sublime shot beyond the stationary McNulty from 16 yards.

After substitute Dinny Corocran had gone agonisingly close for Bohs, Dennehy secured the points in added time with a clinical finish following a pass from Daryl Kavanagh that keeps Rovers sitting pretty at the top of the table.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Jansson; Gilbert (Gannon 73), Sives, Oman, Brennan; Dennehy, Rice (O’Neill 67), Finn, Turner, Greene (Kavanagh 73); Twigg.

BOHEMIANS: McNulty; Heary, McMillan, Mulcahy, Harney; Pender (O’Connor 85), Martin, Joyce (Ward 59), Traynor, Moore; Scully (Corcoran 85).

Referee: R Winter (Wicklow).

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