For the second time in a matter of weeks, Patrick Hoban broke Bohemians’ hearts with a stoppage-time penalty at Oriel Park last night.
Just 35 days ago the league’s top scorer fired home a 95th minute spot kick to kick-off a winning run for Vinny Perth’s side. Last night he did it even later, the 96th minute, as Dundalk completed a stunning turnaround to remain top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table with their ninth win in 10 games since the Gypsies’ last visit to north Louth.
The champions had been chasing the game as early as the second minute when Danny Grant gave the visitors a shock lead. Even after Georgie Kelly levelled it looked like the 10 men of Bohs would hold out for a point.
There was to be late drama, however, as Andy Lyons tripped Dean Jarvis in the box deep in stoppage-time, with Hoban keeping his nerve to fire home his 10th league goal of the season with what was his side’s 30th shot of the night.
The game was only a minute and 53 seconds old when the home fans were stunned into silence. Bohs broke at pace with Robbie McCourt slipping Grant in on the right. Gary Rogers came off his line looking to push Grant wide but the winger managed to side-step the keeper before slotting home from the acutest of angles.
It was largely one-way traffic after that with Daniel Kelly having a good chance tipped over by James Talbot before Michael Duffy fired wide with the goal at his mercy on the quarter hour mark in the pick of a plethora of chances. The home side then had a huge let-off on the stroke of half-time when Gannon fluffed his lines from a clearance to tee up Ryan Swan for a shot which the striker pulled wide.
The home side’s hopes were then given a huge boost on 54 minutes when the Gypsies were reduced to 10 men after Ryan Graydon picked up a second yellow card in the space of eight minutes for a lunge on Daniel Cleary.
The Bohs goal somehow survived being breached on 59 minutes when Duffy’s cross was cleared off the line by Darragh Leahy after Danny Mandroiu almost turned it into his own net. The rebound then fell to Georgie Kelly who was brilliantly denied at at close range by Talbot. Kelly then finally broke the Bohs resistance on 66 minutes. After winning the initial header from Duffy’s corner kick he followed it up by pouncing on his own dropping ball to send Oriel wild.
Despite wave after wave of attack, it looked like Bohs would escape with a point after Cleary’s header beat Talbot only to be headed off the line by Lyons. The young full back would go from hero to villain for his side in stoppage time, however, as he tripped Jarvis for the decisive spot kick which Hoban converted.
Rogers; Gannon, Cleary, Hoare, Massey (Jarvis 84); Shields, Flores (Murray 64); D Kelly (G Kelly 56), McEleney, Duffy; Hoban.
Talbot; Lyons, Finnerty, Barry, Leahy; McCourt, Levingstone; Grant (Graydon 41), Mandroiu, Wade-Slater; Swan (Reghba 68) (Allardice 80).
D Tomney (Dublin).