Cork City warm up for Europa League with victory at the Brandywell
The Candy Stripes have yet to win a league game in nine matches
Derry’s Patrick McEleney under pressure from Cork’s Liam Miller and Ross Gaynor. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho
Derry City 0 Cork City 2
Cork City lumbered up for next week’s Europa League match with another impressive victory at the Brandywell to remain on the coatails of leaders, Dundalk.
Having dominated the clear-cut scoring chances, John Caulfield’s well organised charges may have been held scoreless at the break, but their opening goal in the 57th minute presented them with a platform to build on.
Operating in a disciplined 4-1-4-1 formation, the Leesiders retained possession so well and, having broken the deadlock, the pace of Billy Dennehy and Karl Sheppard constantly stretched the “Candy Stripes” who have now yet to win a league game in nine matches.
The visitors threatened in their opening attack after seven minutes, Derry goalkeeper Ger Doherty having to be alert to deny Karl Sheppard’s low shot from the angle.
Within a minute Patrick McEleney’s effort failed to hit the target before Philip Lowry’s headed a Mark Timlin cross into the ground making the save easy for Cork’s Mark McNulty in the 18th minute.
As Derry continued to push forward McNulty denied Timlin when blocking the shot with his feet, but the visitors looked comfortable in possession with former skipper, Dan Murray, surprisingly operating in front of his back four.
Five minutes from the break, Billy Dennehy’s curling free-kick narrowly missed the target before Mark O’Sullivan got it all wrong when heading Ross Gaynor’s cross well wide when well placed to score.
Following the change of ends, Cork really should have taken the lead after a testing free-kick.
Billy Dennehy floated the ball in towards the back post and when brother, Darren, headed the ball back across the face of goal both O’Sullivan and Sheppard failed to take advantage from close quarters.
However, the visitors did break the deadlock just before the hour and it was a superb pass by Billy Dennehy which fashioned the strike.
The winger’s incisive pass found its way in behind the Derry defence into the path of the advancing Sheppard and he made no mistake from 10 yards.
And the Leesiders could have doubled that advantage in the 72nd minute. A high punt upfield was latched onto by substitute John O’Flynn who squeezed the ball agonisingly wide of the far post.
O’Flynn went close again in the 82nd minute when his glancing header hit the post after Sheppard got in a telling cross.
Derry huffed and puffed towards the end but they were dealt a telling blow three minutes from the end when O’Flynn broke free again on the break before he was brought crashing down to earth by centre-back Aaron Barry.
Referee Padraigh Sutton pointed to the spot and man of the match Billy Dennehy ended the contest from the placed ball.
Derry City: Doherty; Kelly, S. McEleney, Barry, Jarvis; Curtis (Dooley, 72), Lowry, McNamee, Timlin; Curran, P. McEleney.
Cork City : McNulty; Gaynor, Bennett, D. Dennehy, O’Connor; Murray; B. Dennehy (Kearney 91), Miller, Buckley, Sheppard (Lehane, 91); O’Sullivan (O’Flynn, 58).
Referee: P. Sutton (Clare).