Cork City 2 Derry City 2
On the face of it, a draw in Cork would be considered a reasonable result. However holding a two goal lead iunto the last ten minutes of this game, City will certainly feel that this is a game that they should have won.
Derry were seeking their first win at the venue since 2000, and had the perfect start when Patterson fired them ahead after ten minutes. The big striker latched onto a clever ball into the box, turned Spillane easily and beat McNulty. After 22 minutes City had doubled their advantage when Morrison played Patterson in down the right had side, and the striker repeated the trick to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The home side offered little in the way of a revival, though Doherty did save well from Turner but O’Neill failed to trouble the Derry goal with the rebound. However the visitors looked very comfortable and appeared well on their way to a victory prior to the dismissal of Greacen for a second yellow card on the hour mark. The first yellow was a very late challenge by the big centre half for which there can be few complaints. However the second booking was very contentious and Devien and Paul Hegarty made their feelings clear to referee McKeon after the final whistle.
A clearance from McNulty was contested for by Purcel and Greacen. The striker went to group clutching his arm, and the referee immediately produced a yellow card. There appeared little in the challenge to suggest a foul, never mind the booking which followed and the Derry players surrounded the referee to dispute the decision.
Tommy Dunne threw on Stephen Kenny whilst Devine reshuffled, introducing McCallion for Morrison. The home side were in the ascendancy for the remainder of the contest. Purcell, Horgan, Morrissey all had long range efforts but City helfd frim. However the cracks were beginning to show,as City were sucked ever deeper. Cork appealed for a number of penalties as City players threw themselves in front of the ball to block various efforts.
A long ball from Murphy was knocked downto Sullivan who was free in the area and he crashed it hme to give Cork hope with eight minutes lefts. However City had a trememendous chance to kill the game when McEleney and McLaughlin combined to send McDaid clear. The striker took the effort early but it flew narrowly wide of McNulty’s post.
Cork continued to pour bodies forward and with four minutes left there were back on level terms when a deflected shot feel to an unmarked Duggan who rifled it home. Cork, sensing blood, nearly grabbed all thrpoints when a late Healy free had to be pushed over by Doherty.
The game finished level, but City must rue the fact theyfailed to close the game out.