Ryan Graydon clinches win against Bohs as Derry City move into second
RYAN Graydon's first half strike proved enough to clinch a vital victory over 10 man Bohemians at Dalymount Park as Derry City leapfrogged the Dubliners into second spot.
Bohs defender Grant Horton was shown a straight red card for his rash tackle on Michael Duffy after just 15 minutes and the visitors took full advantage with that winning strike as Graydon poked the ball home from close range on 17 minutes.
Derry should've been out of sight during a dominant first half with Shane McEleney and Cameron McJannet coming closest with close range headers.
Declan Devine's men, who won the reverse fixture at Brandywell last month, showed character in the second half in front of the 4,293 in attendance with Brian Maher called into action to parry Jordan Flores’ cross into a crowded area but Derry did enough to see out a fantastic victory - their second 1-0 win on the road in succession to move them back up the table and just two points behind leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Long term absentee Cameron Dummigan was named on the bench for the first time this season after 15 weeks on the sidelines. The midfielder sustained a hamstring injury in a preseason match in Spain last January 25th before suffering a setback and his return provided a timely boost for Higgins' charges.
Will Patching was back in the starting line-up for the first time since the 1-0 defeat to Bohs at Brandywell back in April 10th but the surprising news was Higgins' decision to field without a recognised striker.
Jamie McGonigle and Cian Kavanagh both started the match on the bench having struggled for goals in recent weeks as Ollie O'Neill was the furthest man forward operating in a false No. 9 role with Duffy and Graydon either side.
One man Derry who would certainly do a job up front for either team was former Bohs and Candystripes' striker Georgie Kelly who greeted his former teammates on the pitch during the warm-ups.
Bohs were first to threaten when Jordan Flores floated in a free-kick from the left wing towards a crowded penalty area and Afolabi rose highest but sent his looping header over the bar on eight minutes.
The Dubliners were reduced to 10 men on 15 minutes when Duffy got in behind Horton and raced onto Patching's diagonal ball before the Bohs defender brought him down with a sliding tackle on the edge of the 18 yard box.
Match referee Paul McLaughlin appeared to liaise with his assistant before brandishing a straight red card. There could be little argument from the home side as Duffy found himself clean through on goal.
From the resultant free-kick Patching's curling effort took a deflection and went behind for a corner. The ball eventually was worked towards Graydon and his attempted overhead kick from close range was headed clear by Flores.
The ball was kept alive and when Duffy crossed low into the Bohs area from the left Graydon got in front of Paddy Kirk at the near post and poked it past James Talbot.
Shane McEleney should've doubled Derry's lead on 22 minutes but he powered his header from Duffy's corner narrowly over the bar.
It was one-way traffic as Bohs struggled to get out of their half and O'Neill strike from 12 yards was deflected past the post by Krystian Nowak who threw himself at the ball. From the resultant corner, Ben Doherty received the ball on the right wing and crossed towards McJannet who sent his header from 10 yards over the crossbar.
The former Stoke City man got above Kirk once again from Doherty's corner but again sent his header off target at the near post and Derry had to settle for the one goal advantage at half-time.
Declan Devine made a double substitution at the break with Kris Twardek and James Clarke replacing Ali Coote and Kirk, who was tormented by Graydon at left-back during the opening 45 minutes.
Derry were dominating the ball in the early stages of the second half but Flores, who dropped back to replace Kirk at right-back, tried his luck with a cheeky attempted lob from deep inside his own half on 55 minutes but Brian Maher retreated quickly and gathered comfortably.
With the packed Jodi Stand and Des Kelly stands roaring them on, Bohemians sensed they could back in the match. Substitute Brandon Kavanagh was now the furthest man forward for Derry and when Sadou Diallo found his run through the middle, the midfielder brought it down beautifully but curled his left footed effort wide of the mark from 20 yards.
Dummigan entered the fray for his first appearance of the season on 79 minutes, replacing Diallo in the middle of the park with birthday boy Ronan Boyce replacing the goalscorer Graydon.
Boyce conceded a free-kick moments after coming on in a dangerous position on the Bohs left wing and when it was whipped in by Flores, Maher managed to get a vital touch.
Nowak timed his tackle to perfection to deny Jordan McEneff's strike after he was sent into space brilliantly by Duffy before Kavanagh fired a free-kick over the Bohs bar with two minutes remaining.
There were five minutes of additional time signalled and Bohs pressed for an equaliser. McEleney did brilliantly with a brave clearance inside a packed penalty area from Twardek's cross.
It was a nervous finale for City but they did enough to move back up the table ahead of Monday’s home clash with Dundalk.
Bohemians: Talbot, Kirk (Clarke h-t), Nowak, Horton, Flores, Afolabi (McDaid, 77), Connolly (Williams 71), Radkowski, Coote (Twardek h-t), Buckley, McDonnell; Subs Not Used - Dennison, Benn,McManus, O'Sullivan, Baker.
Derry City: Maher, Coll, S McEleney, McJannet, Doherty; Diallo (Dummigan 79), O'Reilly, Patching (McEneff 71); Duffy, Graydon (Boyce 79) O'Neill (B. Kavanagh 64) Subs Not Used - Ryan, McGonigle, Ward, Dummigan, C. Kavanagh, Patton.
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).