North on target as City slide continues

A Danny North goal 12 minutes from time ensured Sligo Rovers extended their lead at the top of the Airtricity League Premier Division at Turner’s Cross last night.

It was North’s sixth league goal of the season for the unbeaten league leaders, whose night was made all the sweeter as Shamrock Rovers failed to beat Bray.

Cork boss Tommy Dunne made one change from the side that hammered Monaghan as Colin Healy returned to the side in the unusual position of right-back, which meant Gavin Kavanagh missed out. John Dunleavy and Shane Duggan continued in the centre of midfield and last week’s hat-trick hero Davin O’Neill again started up front alongside Vinny Sullivan.

Sligo manager Ian Baraclough made three changes from the side that lost to Crusaders in Belfast in the Setanta Cup semi-final first leg on Monday night. Jason McGuinness missed out through injury which meant Danny Ventre partnered Gavin Peers in the middle of the defence with North and Mark Quigley coming into the side in attack.

In an opening devoid of much goalmouth action, the first half-chance fell to North midway through the first half, but the striker, who also scored at Turner’s Cross last year for St Pat’s in the FAI Cup, couldn’t direct his header on target from Joseph Ndo’s free-kick.

City began to come more into the game as the half wore and closed down the Sligo players with greater conviction. And that showed on 35 minutes when Shane Duggan picked out Sullivan inside the box but a poor first touch from the City striker let Ventre intercept.

Two minutes later City were unlucky not to hit the front when Sullivan found O’Neill and the striker’s right-footed effort crashed back off the post with Gary Rogers well beaten.

Rogers then had to be lively to tip former Sligo player Daryl Horgan’s neat chip over his crossbar before Romauld Boco’s looping header on the stroke of half-time drifted inches over Mark McNulty’s crossbar.

Sligo started the second half as they had started the first, dominating possession as City again stood too far off and invited the visitors onto them. It took them 23 minutes to create a chance, however, when first Colin Healy did well to block Lee Lynch’s shot from the edge of the box and then McNulty made a brilliant save to keep out Quigley’s diving header from eight yards.

The goal did eventually arrive, 12 minutes from time, when Ross Gaynor put in a dangerous left-footed cross which City captain Dan Murray failed to deal with, allowing North to stab the ball past keeper McNulty at the second attempt.

Kalen Spillane’s long-range effort in injury time was the closest City came to an equaliser but his effort drifted wide of Rogers’ post as City’s disappointing start to life in the top flight continued.

CORK CITY: McNulty; Healy, D Murray, Spillane, D Murphy; G Morrissey, Dunleavy (Turner 50), Duggan, D Horgan; Sullivan (Purcell 76), O’Neill.

SLIGO ROVERS: Rogers; Keane, Peers, Ventre, Davoren; Boco (Millien 74), Lynch, Ndo, Gaynor; Quigley (Cretaro 81), North (Cawley 87).

Referee: N Doyle (Dublin).

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