Bohs hope to gain momentum after poor start to the season.

Bohemians will be hoping to keep up their recent good form following a turbulent start to the season. They claimed back-to-back victories for the first time this season on Monday night against a struggling Dundalk team, who continue their winless streak after ten games. 

Bohs made a very poor start to the season, winning just one of their first four games. An opening day draw at home to Sligo Rovers was followed by a win away to St Pat’s, thanks to a contentious Jordan Flores penalty.

Bohs then lost two in a row, away to Drogheda and at home to high-flying Shelbourne. This disappointing start, as well as some questionable form at the back end of last season, was enough for the club to dismiss manager Declan Devine.

Club legend Derek Pender took charge on an interim basis and managed Bohs’s second win of the season at home to Derry City. Following this win, Waterford assistant manager, Alan Reynolds, was appointed as new manager.  

Reynolds’s first game was a baptism of fire, travelling to Tallaght to take on Bohs’s fiercest rivals, Shamrock Rovers. While Bohs had promising moments, especially in the first half, they were comfortably beaten 3-1 by the better team.

Bohemian’s next game was away to Galway United, where they won 2-0 thanks to goals from Jevon Mills and James Akintunde. This was followed by a defeat to Waterford in Reynolds’s first home game as manager. 

Following this defeat, Bohs made the short trip to Drumcondra to play the league leaders, Shelbourne. In the opening 30 minutes, Shels looked the better team, coming close to scoring on a few occasions. But in the 34th minute, Bohs were awarded a penalty which was converted by captain Jordan Flores. Five minutes later Flores scored again, heading home a Dayle Rooney corner. In the second half, Bohs’s game management was excellent, and despite giving away a penalty which was scored for Shels by Will Jarvis, they defended brilliantly to leave Tolka Park with all three points.

This win was their best performance of the season and they looked to follow it up with another win on Monday night against Dundalk. Both teams were poor in the first half, with no real noteworthy chances for either team.

20 minutes into the second half, Declan McDaid and James Akintunde were brought on for Dylan Connolly and, to the frustration of the Dalymount Park faithful, James Clarke. Despite the exasperation of the home fans, Bohs played much better after these substitutions. McDaid came close to scoring twice in quick succession, forcing two good saves from Dundalk’s keeper. The breakthrough came in the 80th minute, when Dayle Rooney’s free kick was met by Akintunde at the back post who headed home the winner. 

Moments before kick-off at Dalymount Park as Bohemians take on Drogheda United.

The form of James Akintunde since the arrival of Alan Reynolds, who he previously worked with at Derry City, has been one of the biggest talking points of Bohs’s season so far. In the five games Reynolds has taken charge of, the Englishmen has been the standout performer in all but one. His hold-up play has been superb and is integral to how Bohs play under Reynolds. His great form is keeping two new signings, Sten Reinkort and Filip Piszczek out of the starting XI. 

Bohs were extremely active in the transfer market before this season, making 12 signings, some of which have impressed more than others. The biggest signing of the window was Estonian striker Sten Reinkort.  The former Flora Talinn player was signed to replace the outgoing Jonathan Afolabi, who scored 20 goals last season.

Reinkort made the perfect start, scoring on his debut, but has not scored again since. Two of his Flora Talinn teammates, Martin Miller and Michael Lillander, were also brought in but both have failed to impress. Winger Dayle Rooney was signed from Drogheda United and while he made a slow start at his new club, he is starting to come good.

Polish goalkeeper Kacper Chorazka was signed after usual keeper James Talbot announced he would be taking a mental health break and has been one of the most impressive of the new signings. Centre backs Jevon Mills and Aboubacar Keita were brought in on loan from Hull City and Colorado Rapids respectively. Both have been very solid for the most part, especially away to Shelbourne, when they were both excellent.  

Alan Reynolds has hinted that he may look to bolster the squad further in the Summer. After the win against Dundalk he said: ‘We have a lot of improving to do. We need to pass the ball a lot better and try to get my stamp on the team and that’s going to take time and it might take players.’ 

Monday night’s win leaves Bohs in a much healthier league position of third. But if Bohs are to stay there or even challenge for the title, some summer signing may be what they need. 

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