Ten man Derry threw away a two point lead at Turner’s Cross on Friday night, ensuring that their twelve year wait for a league win at Cork City was anything but over.
CORK CITY....2 .........DERRY CITY.....2
It was an energising start for the Candystripes who took the lead from the first attack of the game in the ninth minute when Stephen McLaughlin set up Patterson with a through ball which glided past Cork’s keeper, Mark McNulty.
Travelling Derry fans had cause to celebrate again in the 22nd minute when Patterson found some space in the otherwise crowded box and overpowered McNulty who for the second time in the first half who was caught by a superb shot from a tight angle.
Devine’s visitors looked to have a clear advantage at that point and even within sight of the ever elusive Turner’s Cross victory. For long periods, it looked as if Patterson’s two early goals would be enough but in a game of two very different halves for Devine’s Derry men, things quickly changed.
Cork were largely unthreatening during the first half, generally displaying a lack of pace and vigour allowing Derry to comfortably hold their lead until the half time whistle.
However the hotly anticipated return to action of Derry’s Stewart Greacen was soon revelead as anything but the good luck charm Derry had been hoping would seal them a victory in the rebel county.
Brandywell boss Devine had been hoping Greacen’s return would help form a strong and much needed defensive line against the Leesiders but it was the the scottish centre half’s send off which in the end lost what should have been a victory for the quickly overpowered Derry City team.
A clumsy challenge in the 15th minute saw Dublin referee Dave McKeown show the Derry player a yellow card. A careless tackle on Cork’s Daryl Hogan meant Greacen’s return for the Candystripes was shortlived when he was sent off in the 60th minute.
The meeting of the two clubs on Friday came with changes to both squads but Derry seemed the worse off for the notable absence of key players including Shane McEleney, who’s currently on a suspension and Matt Crossan, who is spending the summer in America.
Cork boss Tommy Dunne had initially decided to leave striker Tadhg Purcell on the bench, starting the game with just one attacker, but soon changed his plans following the early Derry goals.
Greacen’s exit from the proceedings seemed like the only catalyst Cork needed to get their drive back and the Turner’s cross men soon piled on the pressure which was rewarded with a powerful shot swept home by an eager Vinny Sullivan in the 81st minute.
As Devine’s ten men visitors tried their best to mount a solid defence and hold onto their one goal lead the Cork men struck again just four minutes later, when a Ken Spillane shot was deflected into the path of Duggan and he shot low past Doherty for a deserved equaliser.
Just minutes from the final whistle a victory which had earlier seemed a foregone conclusion was to prove too much to snatch for the Candystripes who saw the scoreboard reflect a game where both sides were rewarded for their efforts and mistakes. Fans will be glad that Derry keeper Doherty was able to deny the Cork men a last minute win after a close shot from Colin Healy.
Derry travelled home on Saturday just one point out of a possible three better off, while Cork grasped a point and a few decent headlines with commentators hailing their remarkable late victory in a game which for sixty minutes, seemed like it was Derry’s.
CORK CITY: McNulty; Healy; Kavanagh; (Kenny, 71); Spillane; D Murphy; Turner; G Morrissey; (N Horgan 82); Duggan; O’Neill; (Purcell 54); D Horgan; Sullivan
DERRY CITY: Doherty; Madden; Greacen; McBride; McCaffrey; McDaid; Higgins; McEleney; McLaughlin; Patterson; Morrison; (McCallion 62)
Referee: Dave McKeon (Dublin).