Derry City 0 Cork City 0
Cork City survived a late, late Derry City surge at the Brandywell last night to retain top spot in the Premier Division.
Aaron McEneff’s curling shot appeared destined for the net before the ball came off the inside of the post and into the hands of a massively-relieved Mark McNulty.
However, at the other end the home side breathed a massive sigh of relief late into injury time when a header from defender Sean McLoughlin almost found the net,with Derry keeper Ger Doherty struggling.
In the end, it was a deserved share of the spoils as both side were wasteful in possession but given the balance of play, both will be happy with a share of the spoils in what was an enjoyable game despite the lack of goals.
Cork’s leadership, therefore, continues while the ‘Candystripes’ will be happy to have preserved their home unbeaten home record in front of an appreciative attendance of just over 3,000 supporters.
Cork winger, Barry McNamee, was regularly berated by Derry supporters, the Donegal native having opted to leave the Brandywell at the end of last season.
And that additional pressure on the Ramelton man certainly told as he was called ashore by John Caulfield after an hour’s play.
Derry, who still lie eight points behind Cork, refused to be intimidated from the first whistle opting to push forward at every opportunity.
In fact, Derry forced two corners within the space of as many minutes, Ronan Curtis heading a Nicky Low delivery wide of the target when unmarked inside the area.
Cork, however, took their time to settle and while Jimmy Keohane lashed an effort over the crossbar, the Leesiders always looked menacing when moving forward.
That said, Derry went close again in the 15th minute, full-back, Jack Doyle sending a shot whistling narrowly wide of the Cork net.
On the half hour mark Cork’s Shane Griffin was presented with a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock, but he failed get the ball under control, a Derry defender poking the ball wide at the expense of a corner.
With both sides guilty of over-elaborating in front of goal, the attendance began to get restless as the game remain evenly-balanced approaching half time.
Derry’s Rory Patterson squandered what appeared an easy chance in the 38th minute as he attempted to deflect a cross from the left into the net.
Following the change of ends, the home side recorded the first serious shot on target on the hour.
Full-back, Conor McDermott broke down the flank and having worked his way inside, his powerful low shot forced Cork City’s keeper, Mark McNulty, into a decent save, the ball having made it’s way through a forest of legs.
At the other end Keohane blasted high over the bar when well placed while McNulty was involved in the action again minutes later when he raced from his goal-line to clear the danger.
With Derry having upped the ante, they appeared the more likely to score an a shot from Rory Hale in the 67th minute screamed agonisingly wide of the Cork goal with McNulty stranded.
Ten minute from the end, Cork sub, Kieran Sadlier chased a lost cause eventually forcing Ger Doherty into a low save at the near post as the visitors went in search of the winner.
And a second Cork sub, Josh O’Hanlon broke free in the 85th minute but his effort was smothered by a defender.
The final whistle sounded in the 93rd minute and given the reaction, both sets of supporters appeared to be satisfied with a share of the spoils.
Derry City: Doherty; McDermott (McDonagh, 86), Toal, Cole, Doyle; Ronan Hale, Low, Rory Hale, Curtis; McEneff; Patterson (Boyle, 82).
Cork City: McNulty; Horgan, Bennett, McLoughlin, Griffin; McNamee (Sadlier, 60), McCormack, Buckley, Keohane, Sheppard (Beattie, 77); Cummins (O’Hanlon, 70)
Referee: P. McLoughlin (Donegal).
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