A lively Dublin derby saw Bohemians and Shelbourne settle for a point each, though neither will be especially happy.
Shels were the better side in the first half at a sold-out Dalymount, Jack Moylan scoring a beauty midway through, but Ali Coote levelled 16 minutes from time, ensuring a point for Bohs but leaving them fifth in the table and one behind Shels.
The battle for Europe remains up for grabs for both, though Shels will ponder how they were so second-best after a first half full of intent.
There was drama within a couple of minutes, Krystian Nowak's backpass putting James Talbot in jeopardy. The keeper and Moylan collided, with Moylan looking for a penalty to no avail, before JJ Lunney forced Talbot into a smart save.
An attack that was started with a beautiful Jordan Flores pass saw James McManus’ shot deflected out for a corner. Danny Grant then fluffed his header after fine play from Jon Afolabi.
The opener was worth the wait.
Harry Wood clipped one down the line, Moylan outpaced Nowak and the Lincoln-bound striker curled cooly into the bottom corner.
More sloppy play nearly allowed Moylan – a former Bohemian – in for a second, Bohs looking rocky at the back, Shels growing in confidence. Moylan was outstanding but should have played Wood in just before the break, his confidence so high that he decided to do it all himself – it came to nothing.
Flores’ bullet header from a Coote free-kick shortly afterwards, which was just wide, almost had Bohs level; it would not have been deserved.
The Gypsies started the second half with purpose. Keith Buckley moved into midfield the narrative changed, with Coote blasting over on 56 minutes, Shels struggling to get on the ball. Then Flores tapped in but referee Rob Harvey blew the whistle for a foul on Conor Kearns from Afolabi.
Shels had just changed to a back five when Coote hammered the ball low into the corner from outside the box.
Now we had a game, the lively William Jarvis slicing just wide before McManus drove straight at an overworked Kearns. By now, a weary Shels had settled for a point, seven minutes of injury time feeling a good deal longer, but they have only lost five league games all season for a reason.
Bohs still have the FAI Cup on which to concentrate – they go to Galway Saturday week – but Shels' eggs are in the basket of the league and nobody can safely call how the top of the table will look come the end of an absorbing season.
Intriguingly, Bohs were booed off at half-time by a section of the home support, but the home fans still have some big games to look forward to.
Bohemians: Talbot; Buckley, Radkowsi, Nowak, Flores; McDonnell (Kukulowicz 46), McManus (Akintunde 75), Clarke (O'Sullivan 90); Grant (McDaid 66), Afolabi, Coote.
Shelbourne: Kearns; Wilson, Molloy, Byrne, Griffin (Barrett 72); Farrell (Hakiki 62), Lunney, Caffrey (McManus 73), Jarvis (Arubi 90); Moylan, Wood (Quinn 73).
Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).
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