Bohemians and Derry City had to settle for a point apiece at Dalymount Park as they each finished with ten men in tonight's 1-1 draw.
On the evidence of the 90 minutes, Derry will be the happier as they ground out a seventh draw of the season. It was a fifth draw for Bohemians as they still await a home league win.
Buoyed by their good display in Cork last week and searching for that elusive first victory in Phibsborough, Bohemians boss Owen Heary fielded arguably his most attacking eleven of the season.
In the only change, Dinny Corcoran came in to partner veteran Jason Byrne in attack, the first time the two had started in the league this season.
And it paid off immediately as Bohemians had a chance inside the opening minute and were ahead two minutes later.
Ger Doherty was called into action with scarcely 60 seconds up, saving well with his feet from Corcoran following Paddy Kavanagh’s low cross.
Ryan McEvoy then picked out Karl Moore who beat Roddy Collins before pulling the ball back for Byrne to fire home his fifth league goal of the season.
Bohemians’ lightning start had Derry struggling to get out of their own half with Doherty preventing them from falling further behind after five minutes.
Ex-Derry winger Kavanagh skipped in from the left to let fly with a curling right-footer, which Doherty brilliantly batted away with one hand.
The visitors were inches from being 2-0 down on 27 minutes.
Kavanagh’s cross from the right saw Corcoran lay the ball off for Byrne whose low shot trickled wide of the far post.
Doherty then made his third vital stop of the half on 39 minutes.
Kavanagh whipped over a corner from the right and the keeper reacted superbly to push away Byrne’s close-range header.
The importance of that save was all too evident within a minute as Derry were level.
Paddy McEleney collected JP McGovern’s ball down in the right corner before curling a terrific left-foot shot that went in off Lee Murphy’s far post.
Having just got right back into a game, Derry were reduced to ten men two minutes before the break.
Rory Patterson, back in the side having been dropped for the previous two games, went in over the ball on Bohemians skipper Dave Mulcahy and was shown a straight red card by Cork referee Anthony Buttimer.
Bohemians started the second half as they did the first with Byrne flashing a header narrowly wide from a Kavanagh cross nine minutes in.
But, incredibly, Bohemians were then reduced to ten men two minutes later when Corcoran was shown a straight red for an off-the-ball clash with Cliff Byrne.
Bohemians remained the better side, but save for Byrne bringing another stop from Doherty on 63 minutes, struggled to create the chances that should have won it for them.
Bohemians: Lee Murphy; Steven Beattie, Roberto Lopes, Aidan Price (Eoin Wearen h/t), Derek Pender; Paddy Kavanagh, Dave Mulcahy, Ryan McEvoy, Karl Moore (Kevin Devaney 74); Dinny Corcoran, Jason, Byrne.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Roddy Collins jnr., Clifford Byrne, Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry; John Paul McGovern, Danny Ventre, Enda Curran (Mark Stewart 74), Michael Duffy (Ryan Curran 61); Paddy McEleney (Raymond Foy 82); Rory Patterson.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork).