Dundalk remain in search of their first win of the League of Ireland season after Bohemians maintained their 100% start with a 2-1 win over the Lilywhites at Dalymount Park.
Goals from Jordan Flores and Declan McDaid either side of the break put the Gypsies in command and although Johannes Yli-Kokko came off the bench to become the first player from Finland to play – and score – for the club, Stephen O’Donnell’s men could not fashion an equaliser.
After piecing some lovely passages of play together in the opening period, Dundalk were forced into reshuffle when Alfie Lewis was forced off in the 36th minute after the midfielder saw a thunderous free-kick slam into his face.
Prior to that, Nathan Shepperd did well in a packed six-yard box to turn a Grant Horton header over his bar before Archie Davies let fly with a drive that flew over James Talbot’s goal.
Midway through the half, Bohs, with Jonathan Afolabi a threat in behind, started to take the upper hand with the former Celtic striker rifling an effort over the top on the half hour.
With Andy Boyle leading by example, the Dundalk backline looked like it would hold firm until the break but when Louie Annesley was found guilty of taking former Lilywhites winger Dylan Connolly down on the edge of the penalty area, another well-known face punished his former teammates with Jordan Flores smacking a trademark effort past Shepperd with the subsequent free-kick.
HT: Bohemians 1-0 Dundalk FC
Backed by 500 travelling supporters in the new Mono Stand, O’Donnell’s men emerged for the second half looking to show more penetration in the final third but it was the hosts who looked the more likely with Hayden Muller having to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Ofalabi a goal.
Dundalk started to establish a foothold and Patrick Hoban headed a Davies cross wide before Greg Sloggett had an effort deflected off target. Yli-Kokko then almost pounced on a knockdown by substitute Daniel Kelly but the ball was hacked clear by Kacper Radkowski with the Finnish player crashing into the onrushing Talbot.
It was the hosts who grabbed the game’s all-important goal, however, when, with 71 minutes on the clock, Connor Malley was dispossessed by Paddy Kirk on the halfway line. He slipped the ball to Afolabi and his pass inside was drilled home by Declan McDaid.
O’Donnell introduced another new signing, Rayhann Tulloch, towards the end and the winger, who is loan from West Bromwich Albion, was denied by Talbot before the busy and hard-working Yli-Kokko pulled one back when his long-range strike found the net with 88 minutes played.
Six minutes of additional time followed but Dundalk couldn’t create the opportunity they required, leaving the Lilywites with one point from their opening two games.
FT: Bohemians 2-1 Dundalk FC
BOHEMIANS: James Talbot; Keith Buckley, Grant Horton, Kacper Radkowski, Paddy Kirk; Jordan Flores, Adam McDonnell; Dylan Connolly (James Akintunde 85), Ali Coote (Kris Twardek 85), Declan McDaid (Krystian Nowak 77); Jonathan Afolabi (Dean Williams 85). Subs not used: Subs not used: James McManus, James Clarke, John O’Sullivan, Andrew Baker, Luke Dennison (GK).
DUNDALK FC: Nathan Shepperd; Archie Davies (Rayhann Tulloch 80), Hayden Muller, Andy Boyle, Louie Annesley; Paul Doyle (John Martin 75), Connor Malley (Cameron Elliott 75), Alfie Lewis (Johannes Yli-Kokko 36); Greg Sloggett, Patrick Hoban, Ryan O’Kane (Daniel Kelly 55). Subs not used: Subs not used: Darragh Leahy, Keith Ward, Wasiri Williams, Peter Cherrie (GK).
REFEREE: Rob Harvey (Dublin).