League Report: Bohemians 2 - 2 Shamrock Rovers

Neil Farrugia Shamrock Rovers FC runs towards his supporters after opening the scoring

Neil Farrugia Shamrock Rovers FC runs towards his supporters after opening the scoring Credit: Conor Ryan (ETPhotos)

Ronan MacNamara reporting from Dalymount Park

View Conor Ryan's photo gallery from the evening's action

Shamrock Rovers saw their lead at the summit of the Premier Division trimmed to four points as they surrendered a two-goal advantage to arch-rivals Bohemians in a chaotic second half at Dalymount Park.

The Jodi Stand sang ‘Crazy World’ at half time, but a header from Neil Farrugia and a Markus Poom rocket gave the Shamrock Rovers fans a second-half encore as they looked to be cruising towards a Dalymount double.

However, football is a crazy game and a Jonathan Afolabi snapshot from the edge of the box handed Bohemians a lifeline in the 66th minute, before a neat James Clarke finish set up a thrilling final fifteen minutes.

Despite entering the half time interval on a high note, the match seemed to have been dramatically snatched away from Bohs when two goals within five minutes after the break punctured the vibrant Phibsboro atmosphere.

Sean Kavanagh crossed for Farrugia to head home with the second half three minutes old before Estonian Poom put his name in the reckoning for goal of the season with a thunderous volley from outside the D five minutes later.

Bohs were the beneficiaries of two breaking balls as Afolabi and Clarke boosted home hopes with two expert finishes, one left footed, one right.

The second half was snap, crackle and pop with fireworks to match which could not have been foreseen after a bland first half.

Adam McDonnell should have opened the scoring in the tenth minute after some superb play from James Akintunde who spread the ball wide for Grant Horton who crossed for the midfielder who had time and space to take the ball down in the area and strike but he dragged wide.

A rather tepid opening period burst into life as Bohs found a purple patch before the interval. Leon Pohls has proved a more than able deputy for the injured Alan Mannus and Rovers were indebted to him for two huge saves first from a shot from Jonathan Afolabi before he did superbly well to deny Akintunde.

An Ali Coote corner caused mayhem in the area and the ball flicked off the shoulder of Akintunde, but Pohls did brilliantly to claw the ball off the goal line.

Tempers flared on the whistle after a cynical challenge from Horton on Graham Burke, leading McDonnell to react heatedly. All three players received yellow cards in a first half that ended at its peak.

While Bohs ended the first half the strongest, it was the Hoops who emerged from the changing rooms meaning business and they struck a killer blow in the 48th minute. In a classic Shamrock Rovers wing back to wing back move, substitute Kavanagh curled in for Farrugia who darted across Kacper Radkowski to head home from six yards.

Stephen Bradley’s side began to show why they are threatening to coast to a record four-in-a-row triumph. A Jack Byrne free kick was intelligently laid off by Pico Lopes for Poom to slam home a venomous volley with his left foot into the top corner.

If Lopes was to be lauded for his expert assist, he was to blame for helping his former side back into the game as he presented the ball for Afolabi to turn and shoot with his left foot past Pohls via the post to give the hosts a lifeline completely against the run of play having been fortunate not to be three goals down.

Declan Devine’s side had their mojo back as they looked to end the second half as they started it and Afolabi was heavily involved in the equaliser in what was arguably his best showing in red and black.

His cross found Dylan Connolly who inadvertently steered the ball into the path of Clarke who made no mistake with a neat finish to level matters and lift the roof off of the Jodi Stand.

Both teams pushed for a winner as the game approached its 90th minute, with Pohls once again standing strong to deny Connolly on the break. Meanwhile, Talbot tipped over a Kavanagh chip, and substitute Johnny Kenny headed over the resulting corner from six yards.

Bohemians: James Talbot; Grant Horton, Patrick Kirk, Krystian Nowak, Kacper Radkowski; James Akintunde (Dylan Connolly 59), Keith Buckley, Ali Coote (Declan McDaid 77), Jordan Flores, Adam McDonnell (James Clarke 64); Jonathan Afolabi.
Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Drew Baker, James McManus, John O'Sullivan, Kris Twardek, Nickson Okosun.
Booked: Grant Horton (44), Adam McDonnell (44), James Akintunde (53), Jordan Flores (90).
Sent off: None.

Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Daniel Cleary, Neil Farrugia, Ronan Finn (Sean Kavanagh 38), Lee Grace, Pico; Markus Poom, Dylan Watts (Richie Towell 59); Graham Burke (Johnny Kenny 81), Jack Byrne, Rory Gaffney (Liam Burt 81).
Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Darragh Nugent, Simon Power.
Booked: Neil Farrugia (28), Graham Burke (44), Sean Kavanagh (75).
Sent off: None.

Attendance: 4,370