Declan Devine bemoans 'decisive' red card decision but insists Bohs have nothing to fear against top teams
The Dubliners surrendered their position as league leaders after the 1-0 loss to Derry at Dalymount as both the in-form Shamrock Rovers and the resurgent Candy Stripes moved ahead of them in the table.
Back-to-back defeats to their potential title rivals will be hard to take but Devine believes his team will take plenty of positives from those respective performances.
"Listen, if the last two performances, against Derry this week and last week against Rovers, there's nothing that we fear out there in terms of how we've gone about our jobs. I certainly back our boys in any game in this league this year.
"If Shamrock Rovers last week and Derry City this week are the two benchmarks in Irish football then we're doing something okay," he added.
Devine was left frustrated by match referee Paul McLaughlin's decision to show Bohs defender Grant Horton a red card on 15 minutes for a 'last man' tackle and denying Michael Duffy a clear goalscoring opportunity - a decision he felt decided the match.
The Creggan man insisted Horton's defensive partner, Krystian Novak was 'in around the goal' and bemoaned another refereeing decision which he felt had unfairly 'punished' his team.
His opposite number Ruaidhri Higgins was in no doubt about the decision simply stating: "Aye, it was a red card, he was in one-on-one."
However, Devine reckons recent decisions which have gone against his team are 'ridiculous' and has called for consistency.
"The performance was excellent, especially the second half," he said. "I'm really disappointed with refereeing decisions in the game again. I didn't have a go last week, I bit my tongue but it's just come back to bite you again this week.
"They can't get cards out quick enough, a booking after 15 seconds (shown to Paddy Kirk) a sending off after 10 minutes or whatever it was, we're just up against it.
"Testament to the players, full credit to them, I thought we were the better team in the second half, we were the much better team against a top side. We were down to 10 men, we're carrying a lot of niggles coming into the game but I thought our players were outstanding.
"I think Derry won tonight because of some decisions. That's been a problem. We didn't get a decision in the game last week. We should've got something in Tallaght last week. We certainly should've got something here tonight.
"I just want to see a bit of consistency when he's giving yellow cards and red cards. We've been on the receiving end of not getting decisions."
Horton miscontrolled the ball allowing Duffy in on goal for the red card incident but Devine felt it wasn't justified.
"For me it was a mistake but at the same time Krystian Nowak was there, he's not the last man, he's in and around the goal. Again we just seem to be getting punished for everything at the minute. Whether it's right or wrong we're carrying no luck with officials.
"Some of the decisions to book our players who are borderlining on four or five bookings is ridiculous and we just want a level playing field and to be treated the same as other teams."
Three minutes after the sending off Derry punished their hosts as Duffy crossed low into the six yard box for Ryan Graydon who nipped in front of Kirk to prod home at the front post for his second of the season.
"We can't go down to 10 and then a few minutes later concede at the back post," reflected Devine. "We've got to deal with that better. At the same time, in terms of a response I thought we were very brave. We put attacking players on.
"We didn't sit in a low block, we went after them, To be honest, I don't remember James Talbot making a save in the game. It would've been very easy to have buckled against a top side here tonight and crumbled and felt sorry for ourselves. We didn't do that. It's an absolute zinger going down to 10 men but we gave a real good account of ourselves and the players deserve huge credit."
When asked if Higgins' decision to play without a recognised striker had caught him off guard, Devine felt it was the sending off that was responsible for how the match panned out.
"No, I really didn't care what way he sets up to be honest," he responded. "He's got a lot of talented players. He could go three at the back, four at the back. He could go with players in a magnitude of positions. It didn't really bother us one bit. The sending off is the turning point in the game.
"When we go down to 10 men we have to take the emotion out of the game. We can take a lot of positives out of the last two games even though we've taken no points.
"We'll certainly do everything in our power (to get back to the top). If that's the standard, the last two games, if that's the level we have to get at, I certainly don't think after four or five months that we're too far away."