Cool Guy strikes as Saints punish City

RYAN GUY struck late for St Patrick’s Athletic at Turner’s Cross last night to deny Cork City a chance of closing the gap at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division.

It was too late for the dominant home side to respond to the American’s strike, Guy clinically slotting the ball underneath Dan Connor having been set up by Gareth O’Connor’s sliding pass at the edge of the box.

Pats’ involvement in the Europa League saw to it that this tie was brought forward from Friday week – something which suited the hosts, who welcome Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town that same weekend.

And on the basis of their inability to break down stubborn opposition once again, the UEFA Cup’s much-maligned offspring must now be the height of City’s ambition this season.

Paul Doolin retained the same 11 that took three points from Terryland Park last Friday while Jeff Kenna’s men, coming off a 2-1 defeat at Shamrock Rovers, had Jamie Harris passed fit to play at centre back, with David Partridge returning alongside him from suspension, replacing Noel Haverty.

The opening exchanges were brisk with both sides recording decent scoring chances. Stephen Maher, who was pushed up along the right flank from full back to winger, sliced an eighth-minute opportunity wide before at the other end, Denis Behan pushed a great chance past the far left-hand post with only Gary Rogers to beat, that in the 15th minute.

Pat’s central midfielder Gareth O’Connor came close in the 22nd minute, Pat Sullivan doing enough to put him off, and three minutes later, Behan again struck a shot left and wide having done well to strike the ball early.

The two sides cancelled each other out until the 37th minute when man-of-the-match Colin Healy’s half volley was deflected away for a corner. And just as the half was winding down, a Behan free from the edge of the box forced Gary Rogers into a decent save at his left-hand post.

A more determined City emerged after the break, pressing the Pat’s goalmouth thanks to the growing dominance of Healy as the suddenly reticent Saints dropped further back.

They were almost punished in the 62nd minute when Kuduzovic dinked a cross into Behan who volleyed home neatly with the outside of his right foot. He was offside though and that let-off sparked Pat’s into life, captain Stuart Byrne denied by opposing skipper Dan Murray’s deflection in the 64th minute and out-of-position right back Jason Gavin narrowly missing just 30 seconds later.

As time whittled away, the dominant City increased their urgency and sub Craig Duggan volleyed just over in the 85th minute. But then their wastefulness, and not to mention an inability to stay onside, was punished by the opportunistic Guy.

CORK CITY: D Connor; N Horgan, D Murray (capt), P Sullivan, D Murphy; C Healy, J Gamble, S O’Donnell; G Silagailis, D Behan, F Kuduzovic.

Subs: S Duggan for O’Donnell, 66; C Duggan for Kuduzovic, 69.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: G Rogers; J Gavin, J Harris, D Partridge, E Stevens; S Maher, G O’Connor, S Byrne (capt), B Ryan; R Guy, G Fitzpatrick.

Subs: D Ryan for Maher, 77; A Cawley for Fitzpatrick, 90.

Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare).

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