Now without a win in six league games and having failed to score yet again, Cork City’s season shows no sign of improving judging on yesterday’s disappointing scoreless draw against fellow strugglers Sligo Rovers at Turner’s Cross.
Having scored only three goals in those six games, and with only four goals at home all season, there is a serious lack of creativity and firepower at last season’s runners up. When they do create a gilt-edged scoring opportunity, these are currently being passed up and costing the side dearly; a point not lost on City manager John Caulfield.
“Scoring at the moment is difficult; it’s frustrating. We certainly had two glorious opportunities to score and another couple of decent half chances,” said the City boss afterwards.
“I’d like to thank the crowd, who were right behind us from the start and I think they can see from the team that they left everything on the pitch. But scoring is difficult at the moment and if we took one of our chances, we would have won the match.”
Their task doesn’t look like getting any easier with a trip to Derry next up.
We’ve had a bad month and there’s a lack of confidence and you can see that some of the players are taking the wrong option and there’s passes being misplaced but that happens when you’re down.
“All you can do is work hard to put it right and the plus side is that Karl Sheppard and Daire O’Connor came back and we are getting forward players back, which will help us.
“There are no easy games and no easy solution, and we need to score a few goals and I’m sure when we get a win, we’ll be back on track.
“The main thing is that the supporters can see that we are doing everything in our power to get positive results and we are creating chances but we’re just not taking them at the moment.”
After Friday’s disappointing Munster derby loss in Waterford, City were boosted with the return of Sheppard from injury, and he was one of two changes to the side that lost 2-0 at the RSC. Gearoid Morrissey was out injured, and his place went to the returning Garry Comerford, who was suspended for the Waterford game, with Sheppard replacing Darragh Crowley.
Sligo boss Liam Buckley made three changes to the side that went down 2-1 to his former club St Pat’s at Inchicore on Friday night. In came Sam Warde, Kris Twardek and Liam Kerrigan for Jack Keaney, Daryl Fordyce and Romeo Parkes.
There have been some murmurings of discontent amongst the keyboard warriors after City’s poor start to the season.
However, Caulfield was given a rousing reception from the home support as he took his place in the dugout before the game; suggesting the majority of home fans are behind their manager, who deserves the utmost respect with such an outstanding record since being appointed in November 2013.
Former City players Johnny Dunleavy and Ronan Coughlan were in the Sligo side and Coughlan had a great chance in the first half when Kris Twardek’s cross found the unmarked striker 10 yards out, but he could only direct his weak header straight at McNulty.
Just before that, Graham Cummins should have put City in front but he side-footed over from inside the box with only ‘keeper Mitchell Beeney to beat. Both sides looked shorn of confidence throughout a poor first half with too many stray passes and slow build up play killing the game as a spectacle.
After a long injury lay off, the creative Daire O’Connor was introduced early in the second half and the former UCD man went close when he hit the side netting shortly after coming on.
The same player then stood up a neat cross for Garry Buckley, but the City midfielder’s header came back off the foot of Beeney’s post as City pressed in search of a winner.
That winner should have come ten minutes from time when Griffin’s deep cross found the inrushing Darragh Rainsford and the former Limerick man looked to have done all the hard work when he controlled the ball superbly but then could only shoot straight at Beeney from six yards.
McNulty; McCarthy, Casey, McLoughlin, Griffin, Tilley (Rainsford 77), McCormack, Buckley, Comerford (O’Connor 57), Sheppard, Cummins (Crowley 72).
Beeney; Dunleavy, Leverock (Russell 51), Mahon, Banks; Morahan, Cawley, Warde, Kerrigan (Keaney 70), Twardek (Morley 88), Coughlan.
R Matthews (Westmeath).