Cork get back to winning ways to take step closer to the title
A second-half strike from Stephen Dooley was enough to give City all three points
Cork’s Stephen Dooley celebrates scoring the winner against Drogheda United. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Drogheda United 0 Cork City 1
A second-half strike from Stephen Dooley was enough to give Cork City all three points as Drogheda United produced another battling performance at United Park on Friday night.
Cork City manager John Caulfield made five changes following his side’s shock 1-0 defeat to Bohs last time out with new signing Robbie Williams slotting in at centre back.
Having withstood a barrage of pressure during a period when Karl Sheppard dummied Conor Kane only for Stephen McGuinness to make a save, Drogheda had their first chance on 15 minutes. A sweeping move down the right saw Jack Bayly square a pass to Chris Mulhall inside the Cork box and the striker laid it back to Thomas Byrne who pulled his shot wide.
Cork then had a chance cleared off the line when Conor Ellis flicked on Shane Griffin’s corner and Alan Bennett stabbed it goalwards but Sean Brennan was on hand to clear.
Ellis hit the post a minute later as the champions elect went in search of an opener. But as the half wore on Drogheda’s young guns began to show a fearlessness rarely seen at United Park this season. Conor Kane in particular was out-muscling the much larger Sheppard while Jake Hyland hit a screamer from 40 yards which was narrowly wide.
Cork didn’t have to wait too long for their opener, after several half chances Stephen Ellis flicked a header through which Shane Elworthy cleared straight to Shane Dooley who controlled the ball and raced through. McGuinness came to the edge of the box to close him down but the midfielder slipped the ball through the keeper’s legs much to the delight of a very relieved John Caulfield.
Buoyed by his strike, Dooley fired over from the edge of the box five minutes later. Cork looked certain to score a second when Dooley waltzed into the box and pulled back for Buckley but the shot was blocked behind.
With three minutes to go Mulhall danced around the Cork defence and went down under a challenge from Williams but Hennessey waved away the penalty appeal. Then injury time Jimmy Keohane hit the crossbar from the edge of the box in a frantic finish to the game.
DROGHEDA UNITED: McGuinness, Elworthy, Buckley, Dunne, Kane, Hyland (Purdy 74), Brennan (McEvoy 68), Russell (Wixted 77), Bayly, Byrne, Mulhall.
Subs Not Used: Masterson, Dempsey, Hollywood, Meaney.
CORK CITY: McNulty, Williams, Bennett, Griffin, Beattie, Morrissey, Buckley (Keohane 80), Dooley, McCormack, Sheppard (Sadlier 61), Ellis (Sadlier 61).
Subs Not Used: Delaney, Bolger, McCarthy, Smith.
Referee: Robert Hennessey (Limerick).