Full-back Simon Madden set up goals for Patrick McEleney and Michael Rafter as Declan Devine's side kept the pressure on leaders St Patrick's Athletic
Derry City put their recent home troubles behind them to see off Bohemians 2-1 and maintain the pressure on leaders St Patrick’s Athletic. Goals from Patrick McEleney and Michael Rafter – both assisted by the outstanding Simon Madden – were enough for the Candystripes to take all three points. Kevin Devaney equalised for Bohs before the break after Derry had failed to deal with a cross, but the home side proved too strong for their opponents.
After an expansive, albeit quality-free, opening exchange, it was the hosts who went ahead thanks to Patrick McEleney after only eight minutes. Madden escaped on the right and swung a deep cross to the back post, where the winger had time to take a touch before drilling into the bottom left-hand corner of Dean Delaney’s goal.
Although Derry continued to dominate with Patrick Kavanagh and Rafter going close with edge-of-the-area attempts, Bohs should have equalised on the quarter-hour mark. Keith Buckley lashed in a low cross that Stewart Greacen failed to deal with, presenting Karl Moore with a clear opportunity, but he meekly sliced wide.
The Candystripes were playing some neat one-touch football with Rafter, Kavanagh, Patrick McEleney and Mark Griffin linking up well, but lacked a focal point in the suspended Rory Patterson. Gerard Doherty had to get down well to tip Moore’s deflected effort behind for a corner in the 34th minute. As such, there was an air of predictability, if not inevitability, to Bohs equaliser which arrived four minutes before the break.
Michael Barker’s cross evaded the Derry back line, and was turned back into the six-yard box by Ryan McEvoy for Devaney to flick into the roof of the net. The Gypsies may have been winless in eight games, but have taken recent points from Sligo, St Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers.
Coupled with City’s recent travails at the Brandywell, Aaron Callaghan must have been confident of causing another upset at the interval. But any Derry nerves were quickly dispelled when Rafter put the hosts 2-1 to the good with Madden again the architect. The full-back brilliantly turned Ciaran Nangle, and delivered a powerful and accurate cross to the boot of Rafter to convert past Delaney.
Substitute Chris Lyons almost snatched a late equaliser for Bohs, but his shot from 18 yards spun inches wide. In turn, Sean Houston had two chances to dispel any late nerves, but failed to find a telling touch on both occasions.
The result leaves the Dubliners without a win in nine games, and slipping further into a relegation dog-fight with rivals Shelbourne. Derry, meanwhile, remain three points behind St Pat’s with a game in hand as the title race begins to gather pace after the mid-season break.