Cork City 0, Derry City 0
DERRY CITY have taken another vital step towards securing Premier Division safety as they battled to a share of the spoils with Cork City at Turner’s Cross.
The Candy Stripes have now taken four points from Caretaker boss, Paul Hegarty’s opening two games and they could so easily have taken maximum points from this one had they taken one of a series of chances.
Indeed, it was a hugely encouraging performance from Hegarty’s troops, marshalled by man of the match, Ryan McBride and striker, Ciaran O’Connor could have given Derry the lead twice in the first half.
And Mark McNulty and then Alan Bennett came to Cork’s rescue in the final 10 minutes to deny Derry the victory when Cillian Morrison and then Stephen Dooley had attempts on goal.
Hegarty felt his side could have won the match and claimed he was ‘slightly disappointed to return to Derry with just one point.
“We’re slightly disappointed,” said Hegarty. “Over the 90 miniutes we created the better chances. We rode our luck at times and they were always going to get a few chances. We pressed them high up the pitch and some of the football we played was exceptional.
“The players’ attitude has been tremendous and you can ask no more of them.”
Derry were without goalkeeper, Gerard Doherty - man of the match against Shamrock Rovers last weekend - and Shaun Patton replaced the Creggan man in goals.
And while Patrick McEleney (thigh) failed a pre-match fitness test skipper McBride made the starting line-up despite fears over his ankle injury.
Derry started brightly and Conor McCormack worked his way into the Cork penalty area but his low shot was gathered cleanly by McNulty.
On eight minutes Cork had a glorious chance to take the lead when John O’Flynn burst through goal but his first touch was heavy allowing Patton to close him down and McBride eventually cleared.
Stephen Dooley did superbly on the left flank to lose his marker and cut back into the path of O’Connor in the six yards area on 19 minutes but his weak attempt was blocked by Bennett.
Two minutes later Mark Timlin played O’Connor through on goal and with McNulty advancing from his line, the City striker’s shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.
O’Connor and Dooley were proving the biggest threats for the visitors who enjoyed the best of the scoring chances in the opening half but it remained scoreless at the interval.
Cork upped their game at the start of the second half and O’Flynn headed Gaynor’s cross straight at Patton on 49 minutes before Buckley’s shot from a corner kick was also gathered easily by the Derry keeper three minutes later.
Barry McNamee had time to dig out a shot from 25 yards on 68 minutes when he received the ball from Dooley but his shot failed to trouble McNulty.
O’Connor dispossessed Dan Murray moments later deep in the Cork half but he couldn’t get the ball under control with just the keeper to beat and after delaying his shot, the chance was lost.
With under 10 minutes to go Derry really should have taken the lead. O’Connor did well to send a looping cross to the back post and Cililan Morrison’s header back across the goal was parried away by McNulty. The ball fell kindly to Dooley at the back post but his shot was blocked on the line by Bennett as the Cork fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Cork did have a chance in the dying seconds of the game to win the match when Steven Beattie sent a cross towards Danny Morrissey at the back post but his header went harmlessly wide of the post.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Alan Bennett, John Dunleavy, Dan Murray (Kevin O’Connor 73), Michael McSweeney; Billy Dennehy, Liam Miller, Karl Sheppard, Ross Gaynor, Gary Buckley, John O’Flynn (Steven Beattie, 65); Subs Not Used - Gavan Holohan, Danny Morrissey, Alan Smith, Liam Kearney, Stephen Folan.
Derry City: Shaun Patton; Ben McLaughlin (Aaron McEneff 55), Ryan McBride, Aaron Barry, Dean Jarvis; Mark Timlin ( Cillian Morrison 69, Barry McNamee, Conor McCormack, Rob Cornwall, Stephen Dooley; Ciaran O’Connor (Mark Quigley 90); Subs Not Used - Conor Brady, Josh Daniels, Patrick McClean, Ryan Curran.
Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).