Derry City 3 Cork City 1
Two goals in two minutes saw Derry City climb into fourth spot in the Premier Division table following this vital victory over Cork City at the Brandywell on Friday night.
And Cork – whose previous manager, John Caulfield, returned to League of Ireland management when joining Galway United yesterday – remain in the lower reaches of the table, now facing vital fixtures during the latter stages of the campaign.
Facing an almost 1,000km round-trip, made in one day, Neale Fenn’s side will certainly not have enjoyed the long journey home.
Boasting a more or less fully-fit squad, Fenn introduced his latest signing, Connor Simpson, on loan from Preston North End, and the tall striker played his part in the opening goal.
Derry were caught cold after just three minutes when defending a set-piece situation.
Kevin O'Connor floated the ball into the danger area where debutante, Simpson, challenged Peter Cherrie.
The goalkeeper failed to make contact with the ball and the well placed Joseph Olowu poked it home from close range.
Derry went close following a flowing move from defence, Adam Hammill fed the ball into the path of Ibrahim Meite, the striker nutmegged Cork captain Alan Bennett but his shot across the face of goal crashed off the upright.
On the stroke of half-time Derry were denied again when Mark McNulty pulled off a superb full-length diving save when turning Walter Figueira’s curling effort around his post.
However, in the 50th minute Ciarán Coll floated the ball deep into the back post and when McNulty fumbled, Figueira’s shot was deflected into the net off the body of a defender.
And two minutes later the home side moved into the driving seat.
Conor McCormack burst forward before feeding Meite and when the striker’s effort was blocked, the ball rebounded into the path of Hammill who drove it home from six yards.
And in a frantic final five minutes Simpson got his head to a cross from the right forcing Cherrie into a vital save, the Derry goalkeeper diving low to scramble the ball clear.
Seconds later at the other end McNulty pulled off a superb save with an outstretched foot to deflect James Akintunde’s shot wide of his goal.
And in the final moments, Dylan McGlade tried a low shot from distance during before Akintunde stroked the ball home to secure the points.
DERRY CITY: Cherrie; Horgan, Toal, Cole, Coll; McCormack, Thomson (Harkin, 82 mins); Figueira (Mallon, 75 mins) , Malone, Hammill (Akintunde, 66 mins); Meite (Dunwoody, 66 mins).
CORK CITY: McNulty; Olowu (Hurley, 33 mins), Bennett, O'Connor; Fleming, Coleman, Ochieng (McGlade, 84 mins), Slevin (Morrissey, 60 mins); Simpson, Dalling, Fenwick (Dinanga, 60 mins).
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).