No home comfort for Cork as Pat’s too good

Greg Bolger, St. Pat's, celebrates his goal against Cork City. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

AIRTRICITY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Cork City 0 St Patrick's Athletic 2
It would be something of an understatement to say St Patrick’s Athletic enjoy coming to Turner’s Cross these days.

Historically, the Cross was a place to strike fear into visiting sides. Cork will be strong at home: it’s one of the longest-running League of Ireland stereotypes. Yet Pat’s, quite clearly, don’t take any heed of such statements.

While goals have never been a central feature of their meetings on Leeside, the Saints have now taken 20 points from the last 27 available. Before last night, five of their previous eight visits were 1-0 wins, with a pair of scoreless draws and a 1-0 defeat thrown into the mix. In that context, last night’s win was all the more comprehensive.

While there was no heartbreaking late concession this time, another familiar pattern of taking one step forward before taking two large ones back remained for Cork City, who exited the field at full-time to what is now becoming an all too regular chorus of jeers from their frustrated fans.

In attack they were far too one dimensional, a frustrated Daryl Kavanagh left largely ineffective, casting a lonely silhouette in attack. It didn’t help that he was being marshalled closely by a Pat’s defence that has conceded just seven times in 11 games, but the lack of support which was afforded to him needs to be addressed.

The opening goal came with 23 minutes on the clock when Chris Forrester swung a cross in from the left and Anto Flood, notching his second goal in five days, connected perfectly with the crown of his head to direct the ball behind him and into the far corner of the net. It was so simple, yet so effective.

City should have drawn level 10 minutes later when an uncharacteristic mistake from Forrester, failing to add enough weight to a back-pass under little pressure, enabled Daryl Kavanagh to intercept. Up against his former club however, the striker took the wrong option by attempting to lob Brendan Clarke, as the keeper got a hand to the effort.

If there was one moment to characterise their evening, that was it.

In truth, it was the best of a bad bunch of chances created by the home side as Pat’s set the tempo from midfield. Greg Bolger, back from suspension, was outstanding in front of the back four, while Killian Brennan and John Russell won their battle with Shane Duggan and Gearóid Morrissey.

Indeed it was Russell who doubled the Saints’ advantage just three minutes into the second half. The ball was worked in from the left and he played a neat one-two with Flood, leaving the defence in his wake before curling a stunning effort into the bottom right corner.

At that stage City had no other option but to throw everything forward and with a little over 20 minutes to go, Kavanagh was denied by a super point-blank stop from Clarke. It was to be the striker’s last involvement, as plan B came in the form of Denis Behan.

His efforts of fashioning an unlikely comeback were in vain however, as the Abbeyfeale man’s only opportunity was struck well wide.

Pat’s could have added further insult to injury with just five minutes to go as Christy Fagan was upended by Gearóid Morrissey and Rob Rogers pointed to the spot. The striker took it himself but Mark McNulty got down well to make the save.

CORK CITY: McNulty; Dunleavy, Dennehy, D Murray, Murphy; Turner (D Morrissey 56), Duggan, Healy, G Morrissey; D Horgan (Rundle 70); D Kavanagh (Behan 70).

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; O’Brien, Browne, Kenna, Bermingham; Byrne, Brennan (McFaul 90), Bolger, Russell, Forrester; Flood (Fagan 73).

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).


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