Derry and Cork played out an enthralling 0-0 draw at Brandywell this evening with both sides having late chances to win it.
City opted to deploy a centre half partnership of Cole and Toal as they looked to shackle the visitors whilst Ronan Curtis shook off speculation about his future, lining out on the right hand side of midfield.
The visitors included Barry McNamee and Conor McCormack in their ranks, but Aaron Barry had to settle for a place on the bench.
The home side started the brighter and forced a succession of corners in the opening minutes before the visitors began to settle and gain a tactical foothold. Jack Doyle had the best chance of the opening stages when he cut in off the line and fired a shot which went past McNulty’s post.
Cork began to create chances of their own and Keohane and Horgan combined on a free, but Bennett headed over when he should have done better. McNamee was beginning to see more of the ball and just after the half hour mark he started the move which nearly sent Cummins away.
At the other end, Bennett showed all his experience to deny Patterson and then the Derry striker also pulled another shot wide.
The second half saw the temperature rachet up a notch with McDermott and McCormack picking up bookings for separate offences, with plenty of others getting involved to give referee McLaughlin their views on the decision. Whilst there were plenty of crosses into the box or lofted efforts, the first direct shot on target came from McDermott who cut inside and shot from the edge of the area.
Sadlier replaced McNamee on the hour mark and immediately posed a more attacking threat for Cork. McNulty miscleared to Doyle but on his weaker foot he opted not to shoot and a poor pass to Hale saw the move break down. Ronan Hale’s shot moments later had the keeper watching as the ball whistled past the post.
Caulfield emptied his bench with three attacking subs, O’Hanlon and Beattie entering the fray as the game progressed. O’Hanlon latched on to a low cross from Sadlier. Sadlier turned Toal brilliantly and O’Hanlon was ready to pull the trigger before a brilliant block by Doyle.
The home side drove forward looking a late winner. Low had a shot blocked from the corner and Cork failed to clear the danger. McEneff whipped in another terrific ball and it looked to have beaten everyone before it struck the inside of the post and into McNulty’s arm.
The visitors had chances of their own in injury time, when City survived a corner and a shot from Beattie that Doherty did well to save.
City preserve their unbeaten home record and move on to Monday night’s game against Dundalk.