Bohemians 0 Dundalk 1: Ciaran Kildfuff came off the bench to score an 89th-minute winner to give Dundalk a fifth straight league victory and break valiant Bohemians’ hearts in an intriguing Premier Division clash at Dalymount Park.
The win moves Dundalk to within nine points of runaway leaders Cork City, though the Rebels have three games in hand.
The brilliance of Bohs goalkeeper Shane Supple looked to have frustrated the champions when he showed sublime agility to push away an 80th-minute header from Niclas Vemmelund after Michael Duffy’s corner.
Nine minutes later Kilduff met fellow substitute Jamie McGrath’s cross from the left to plant a precise header to the bottom far corner of Supple’s net as Dundalk now turn full attention to their Champions League clash with Rosenborg next Wednesday.
Despite suspension depriving them of Dano Byrne and Oscar Brennan down their spine, Bohs were rigid and compact, working hard to hustle and disrupt Dundalk’s passing game.
That tenacity of the Gypsies meant they were very much in the game, even if their final pass let them down.
None more so than on 28 minutes when Keith Ward latched onto a stray pass by Chris Shields, cleverly skipped past Dane Massey, only to pull the ball back to no-one in the area as Dundalk’s sloppiness went unpunished.
It was 34 minutes before either side had an effort on goal, Massey skying his shot from distance well over the top just about summing up the first half before Bohs were dealt a blow with the loss of captain and right-back Derek Pender to a hamstring injury.
Though Bohs began the second half on the front foot, we saw the first threat from Dundalk’s new signing Dylan Connolly at the other end on 52 minutes, his pace getting him in from the left only to scuff the shot wide.
With chances still at a premium, Bohs stretched Dundalk on a swift counter attack on 63 minutes, Ward breaking on the right to pick out Dinny Corcoran whose looping header was over Gary Rogers’ crossbar.
The first shot on target finally arrived on 73 minutes, Duffy, on for Connolly, cutting in off the left flank to fire off a shot Supple ably dealt with at his right-hand post before the late drama brought Dundalk their narrow victory.
Supple; Pender (Hayes, 38), Cornwall, O’Hora, Morris; Kavanagh, Sule (Akinade, 65), Gannon, Fitzgerald; Ward (Morgan, 81); Corcoran.
Rogers; Gannon, Gartland, Vemmelund, Massey; Benson, Shields; Mountney (McGrath, 79), McEleney, Connolly (Duffy, 64); McMillan (Kilduff, 81).
Neil Doyle (Dublin).
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