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July 29 2017 2:30 AM
In a Dublin derby night that was dominated by two sons of Nigeria, Ismahil Akinade played a key role for Bohemians in a win that could have a big say in preserving their status as one of only two clubs never relegated from the League of Ireland.
An absorbing affair in front of 4,525 paying customers in Tallaght Stadium saw Bohs gain their first win away to their rivals since 2012; their three-point haul edges them away from the drop zone and into the top six.
Akinade, born in Nigeria but raised in Dublin and Kildare, had not been fit to start a game since he had his spleen removed in February until last night but he played a central role: he scored the first goal for Bohs, was booked for a goal celebration in front of the home fans which led to a mini pitch invasion, then he set up the second goal for Dinny Corcoran.
Fuad Sule, another man in red and black who was born in Nigeria but raised here, starred in midfield for Keith Long's outfit as Rovers, whose home record had been impressive, struggled to deal with the away side's aggression, the absence of the injured Roberto Lopes badly felt.
"I was out injured for a year, this was my first start since August so to get the win was amazing," Akinade said.
"That win was for the fans, especially after two bad defeats, this is the last time we'll play Rovers this season so we needed the win."
The Bohs squad travelled across the city for this game under severe pressure, their top-flight status under real threat on the back of a three-game losing streak and with a trip to league leaders Cork City to deal with on Monday.
Long's players would not have been aware but as Bohs were kicking off, that pressure had already intensified as Galway United, Bray Wanderers and St Patrick's Athletic, three rivals in that relegation dogfight, were all leading in their away games.
But Bohs, who had scored just once in their previous three games, looked comfortable in Tallaght early on. Rovers did find their feet, though, and began to control things.
Keeper Shane Supple kept Bohs in it with an impressive double save in the 18th minute. First he pulled off an excellent stop to deny Gary Shaw at close range, after the in-form forward got on the end of Brandon Miele's cross, and from the rebound Miele tried his luck but again Supple was there to save.
The away supporters had been relatively quiet but they burst into life on 27 minutes when Akinade scored. He picked up on a back-heel from Corcoran, bustled his way past three Rovers players and powered home an unstoppable shot into the far top corner from an acute angle.
Akinade had been taunted by the home supporters and his celebration close to the Rovers fans sparked an angry reaction, one fan getting onto the pitch to remonstrate with him.
Akinade was booked from referee Ben Connolly for his rashness.
The Rovers response was swift as they were level within two minutes. Miele got in a cross from the right wing, at the second attempt, and stand-in captain David McAllister managed to get in a free header which beat Supple.
Bohs almost regained the lead 10 minutes from half-time, Corcoran hitting the post with a headed effort which Sam Bone, pressed into a central defensive role in place of the injured Lopes, had to clear.
Shaw should have put Rovers ahead two minutes after the break with a shot from close range but his effort was well over, and that proved costly on 55 minutes when Bohs went 2-1 up.
Lorcan Fitzgerald's throw-in fell nicely for Akinade, who lobbed in a cross for Corcoran and the Gypsies' leading scorer showed poise to shrug off his markers and slide a shot past Tomer Chencinski in the Rovers goal.
Rovers had chances to get a point at least but late efforts from Shaw and subs Michael O'Connor and Sean Boyd did not trouble Supple.
SHAMROCK ROVERS - Chencinski; Madden, Webster, Bone (Boyd 56), Byrne; Clarke, Connolly (O'Connor 81), McAllister, Miele; Burke; Shaw.
BOHEMIANS - Supple; Hayes, O'Hora, Cornwall, Pender (Morris 81); Kavanagh (Poynton 70), Brennan, Sule, Fitzgerald; Akinade, Corcoran (O'Connor 88).
Ref - B Connolly