Mark O’Sullivan saves Cork City's blushes

Cork City 1 Wexford Youths 1: A Mark O’Sullivan goal five minutes from time saw Cork City rescue a deserved point and deny Wexford Youths a famous victory at Turner’s Cross last night
Mark O’Sullivan saves Cork City's blushes

It was no more than City deserved after dominating the second-half and creating chance after chance, but it was the first-half performance that let Cork down last night as the plucky visitors were the better side in the opening 45 minutes.

Despite the late goal, it is a bad two points to drop for John Caulfield’s side, who now find themselves five points behind leaders Derry City and champions Dundalk have a chance to join Derry on top tonight.

Greg Bolger was back in the side after being suspended for last week’s scoreless draw in Sligo and Garry Buckley returned for his first start of the season after injury, as Caulfield made two changes, with Steven Beattie and Colin Healy relegated to the bench.

Wexford picked up their first league win of the season last week against Bray and manager Shane Keegan made only one change to that side, with Danny Ledwith being replaced by Chris Kenny.

Full of confidence after last week’s win, the visitors started the brighter and Eric Molloy and Aidan Friel had two shots saved by Mark McNulty inside the opening three minutes.

The home side lacked composure early on and Paul Murphy, fresh from his brace last week, showed a nice turn of pace to get away from two City players before releasing Danny Furlong, who found himself in a good position inside the box but scuffed his shot wide.

Keegan’s side didn’t come to defend and unlike most visiting teams to Turners Cross, Wexford played with two strikers and deservedly went in front in the 15th minute. Friel’s corner kick wasn’t properly cleared and Molloy side-footed home through a ruck of players from the edge of the box to spark wild celebrations.

It took City until the 22nd minute to threaten the Wexford goal when Karl Sheppard headed Kevin O’Connor’s corner narrowly wide.

Gearóid Morrissey was inches away from an equaliser five minutes later as City eventually woke from their slumber.

The visitors were forced to defend deep as City went in search of an equaliser and Sean Maguire went close just before the break but Graham Doyle made a good stop to deny the City striker.

Kevin O’Connor was forced off on the stroke of half-time after taking a heavy knock and he was replaced by Steven Beattie, who scored a hat-trick in the last league game at Turners Cross.

Caulfield must have had a few choice words to say to his side at half-time and Buckley headed narrowly wide five minutes after the break from a floated Bolger free-kick.

Maguire should have equalised in the 65th minute but Doyle made a magnificent save to push the striker’s header around his post from point blank range.

It was all City now and Doyle made another fantastic stop to tip Ian Turner’s header over four minutes later before Beattie set up Sheppard but he rattled the crossbar from six yards and Maguire couldn’t force the ball home.

Wexford were defending for their lives at this stage as City swarmed all over them and were camped in the final third of the pitch but couldn’t find a way past the excellent Doyle.

The pressure eventually told five minutes from time when substitute O’Sullivan rose highest to head home Sheppard’s cross to set up a rip roaring finish.

Buckley almost won it in the last minute but his half volley flew agonisingly wide of Doyle’s right hand post. There was still time for Maguire to have another chance but again man of the match Doyle was quick off his line to save and earn his side the point.

CORK CITY:

McNulty; Dunleavy, O’Connell, Browne, O’Connor (Beattie 45); Sheppard, Buckley, G. Morrissey (O’Sullivan 70), Bolger, Dooley (Turner 61); Maguire.

WEXFORD YOUTHS:

Doyle, McCabe, G Delaney, Last, R Delaney (Mulligan 82); Molloy (Molloy 90), Grace, Kenny, Friel; Murphy (O’Keeffe 90), Furlong.

Referee:

T Connolly (Dublin).

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