Rory Patterson provided a late winner for Derry City, scoring on the rebound from his own saved penalty kick against Cork City, in a scrappy game at Turner’s Cross on Sunday afternoon.
Cork made one change from the side that beat Bohemians here nine days ago with John Dunleavy taking over from the injured Neal Horgan at right back, while an injury ravaged Derry City were forced into three changes and played a three man triangle in central midfield with wide men either side of Rory Patterson who played on his own up front.
The game was slow to ignite with both teams putting a premium on passing the ball through midfield but neither managing the kind of penetration that creates opportunities in front of goal.
Cork full-back Danny Murphy had the first shot on goal with a low drive from the corner of the area that never troubled Derry ‘keeper Ger Doherty, but it was this inside left channel that would provide the home side with most of their attacking openings.
It was from this position on the left that Daryl Horgan spun a cross towards Doherty’s far post but it just evaded the in-rushing Daryl Kavanagh, and Horgan came close to opening Cork’s account when, just after the half hour, he turned on a dropping ball on the edge of the Derry area and volleyed narrowly wide.
Cork weren’t alone in struggling to provide their strikers with good attacking ball with Derry largely failing to connect with their danger-man, Rory Patterson. Michael Rafter, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role, created the first opportunity for the visitors with a through ball that almost released Mark Griffin on eight minutes and an opportunistic effort from Rafter whistled wide of Mark McNulty’s goal midway through the half.
The game faded somewhat as the half progressed but the final minutes provided chances for both sides. Griffin fed Rafter on 42 minutes only for the Derry midfielder’s effort from 20 yards to drift wide.
At the other end, in added time, a cross from the right by Daryl Horgan seemed destined to find Kavanagh at the back post but the slightest contact from Barry Molloy deflected the ball over the City front man and Kevin Murray headed the resulting corner just wide of the near post.
The dynamic of the game didn’t change after the break with passages of decent passing football failing to create many genuine openings. Daryl Horgan continued to look lively on the left for Cork while Michael Rafter’s creativity was not enough to open up Derry’s attacking potential.
Danny Murphy almost unlocked the Derry defence on 55 minutes with a ball from wide on the left that Kavanagh met beyond the back post, but it was an awkward opportunity and Doherty calmly collected the forward’s nudged effort on goal. Three minutes later Maurphy created another half chance when Furlong controlled his ball in from the left and turned to shoot just beyond Doherty’s left hand post.
On the hour mark a surging run from Derry fullback Madden threatened to unlock the Cork defence but Tommy Dunne’s men held firm and moments later Patterson failed to get a dangerously positioned free kick past the wall.
On 65 minutes Cork created the most incisive move of the second period when a fine Daryl Horgan ball found Gearoid Morrissey on the right. His first time ball cut through the Derry box and only Ryan McBride’s intervention at the back post prevented Furlong from opening the scoring.
Derry responded with two efforts from Rafter, the first spinning over the Cork bar and the second keeping McNulty honest in the home goal. But moments later left the field to be replaced by striker Ryan Curran.
These were highlights in a game that remained largely scrappy. The home side almost created an opportunity on 74 minutes but despite the ball pin-balling around the Derry box no-one got a clear shot on the visitors goal. Three minutes later Colin Healy beat Thomas Crawley down the right but sub Danny Morrissey stabbed the ball comfortably wide and moments after that Daryl Horgan picked up a loose ball but fired wide.
Derry responded mostly via Madden on the right and he delivered a dangerous ball to the back post that Griffin failed to connect with before weaving through a number of challenges only to shoot high over the Cork bar.
With six minutes remaining Madden again got past Danny Murphy and delivered the ball into the danger area but it eventually fell to defender Thomas Crawley who miscued an effort that ended up dropping inches over McNulty’s bar.
Then, with two minutes remaining, Derry were handed the opening that decided the game. Dan Murray nodded a gentle ball towards Adam Rundle who clumsily handled just inside the Cork box. referee Tuite took a moment to make his decision before correctly pointing to the spot. Rory Patterson stepped up and fired low to the right only to see Mark McNulty pull off a superb save. But the Derry striker followed up to volley the rebound in to the Cork net.
Cork will feel aggrieved to have lost a game in which they never looked like the inferior team but when so few chances are created there is always the likelihood that one stray incident will determine the result. Derry will see these as three very valuable points indeed.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; John Dunleavy (Ian Turner 82), Kevin Murray, Dan Murray, Danny Murphy; Gearoid Morrissey, Colin Healy, Shane Duggan, Daryl Horgan (Adam Rundle 82); Daryl Kavanagh (Danny Morrissey 75), Danny Furlong.
Subs not used: Kevin Burns, Darren Dennehy, Garry Buckley, Denis Behan.
Derry City: Ger Doherty; Simon Madden, Barry Molloy, Ryan McBride, Thomas Crawley; Marc Griffin, Ruaidhri Higgins, Sean Houston, Michael Rafter (Ryan Curran 67), Michael Duffy; Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: James Gallagher, Conor Barr, Dermot McCaffrey, Conall Kelly, Tony McNamee.
Booked: Houston (73).
Referee: Paul Tuite.
Extratime Man of the Match: Daryl Horgan (Cork City).