23 September 2008

Cork City v Dungannon Swifts Match Report (22/09/2008)

Here's my match report for ExtraTime.ie

Original article here

There were no surprises at Turner’s Cross as Cork City emerged with a fairly comfortable 4-1 victory over Dungannon Swifts in tonight’s Setanta Sports Cup encounter. City led by two at the break, with goals from Darren Murphy and Liam Kearney doing little justice to a game which resembled a training match for the hosts throughout most of the half. It was a much improved performance from the visitors after halt-time, however; indeed, they had the Leesiders on the ropes for a short spell early in the second period. But on balance, Cork will believe, with some justification that they ought to have won by a greater margin. But the result, combined with Drogheda’s 2-0 victory over Cliftonville means that Alan Matthews’ side will have to be content with an away tie in the next round.

The hosts started brightly, with Lawrie Dudfield volleying narrowly wide from an acute angle in the third minute. Just two minutes later Darren Peden made a last minute lunge to hook the ball clear from the goal line. The clearance only went as far as Joe Gamble who teed the ball up for Denis Behan, but the big striker’s effort crashed back off the bar.

In the 8th minute, Behan produced a cool finish from a Lawrie Dudfield cut-back, but the assistant referee signaled for offside. It was a marginal call, and a couple of minutes later City were unlucky again. This time, a miscued cross from Alan O’Connor had Swifts’ keeper Nelson in all sorts of trouble. As the ball came back off the angle of the goal frame, Dudfield pushed it the wrong side of the post.

Behan came close with a beautifully struck volley following a Kearney corner, but it took until the 24th minute before the hosts finally translated their overwhelming superiority into a goal. Danny Murphy curled a glorious free kick in from the right and Darren Murphy stepped across the line unmarked to glance his header home past the stranded Nelson.

On 39 minutes, Cork caught the dozing Dungannon defence with a training ground corner routine on the right. Kearney played the ball short to Sullivan, and as the Swifts defence stepped forward, he played it back on to the sprightly winger. Kearney carried the ball into the area, beating Nelson at his far post with a placed finish.

Behan and Darren Murphy both came close for City following a brace of early second half corners, but the visitors switch to 4-4-2 was giving them an extra dimension in attack. With 52 minutes on the clock, Michael Hegarty’s chipped free-kick found Aaron Baker in acres of space. The hosts were still contesting the decision when Baker lifted the ball over the onrushing McNulty with ball dropping inches wide of the goal.

If there was a lesson to be learned about the pace of the Swifts front men the home defence seemed to be especially slow of learning. Baker was again on hand, skinning Corks defenders following a lightning break by McGerrigan. Once again, the striker’s effort dropped agonisingly wide.

Within seconds, it proved third time lucky for the visiting side. McGerrigan burst clear of the defence and with McNulty failing miserably to smother the ball on the edge of the area was left with a tap in. Suddenly it appeared a very different game. Cork were now looking shambolic in the face of Dungannon’s increased intensity.

With Sean Kelly injured, Alan Matthews brought on Darragh Ryan and moved Danny Murphy across to centre-back. With Dungannon playing it on the ground, the upshot was that Murphy's pace helped negate Dungannon’s attempts to break through the middle.

63 minutes in, City were awarded a penalty after McMinn wrestled Dudfield to the ground. Behan stepped up to the spot and made no mistake, dispatching the ball home with ease.

A few minutes later, Nelson caught his studs in the turf clearing the ball and looked to be in serious trouble. He tried his best to play on but it was clear that he was in no position to continue. On 69 minutes he rushed out, blocking a shot from Liam Kearney with his hands. Inexplicably, match referee Alan Kelly waved play on; Nelson had been a good 7 yards outside of his own area. By now, the keeper was visibly struggling; and as Gamble broke into the area on the right, he was left rooted to the spot as the ball reached the far post. Substitute Ryan was left was the simplest of tap-ins. Nelson was immediately re-placed by Brandon Regan.

That took the wind of the Swifts’ sails, and City now pushed on hoping to complete the rout. Kearney was give licence to roam and was causing consternation in the visitors’ ranks.

In the 78th minute, he played a wonderfully measured pass to Dudfield in the area. With the former Notts County man ready to pull the trigger he had the ball lifted off his toe by a visiting defender. Two minutes later, the winger was at it again. Collecting a throw in from the left, he burst into the area and cut the ball back for Ryan. This time, the full-back couldn’t keep his shot down.

With 7 minutes remaining, Kearney played another great ball from the left, this time picking out Alan O’Connor. The ball fell to O’Connor’s weaker foot though, his leaden touch sending the ball straight back out to the wing.

Further chances were to follow, with City’s Behan again hitting the bar and Dungannon having an effort cleared off the line, but neither side were able to add to their tally and the game finished 4-1.

Cork City (4-4-2) Mark McNulty; Pat Sullivan, Dan Murray, Sean Kelly, Danny Murphy; Liam Kearney, Joe Gamble, Darren Murphy, Alan O’Connor; Lawrie Dudfield, Denis Behan.

Subs: Darragh Ryan for Sean Kelly (61 mins); Gareth Cambridge for Joe Gamble (84 mins); Timmy Kiely for Lawrie Dudfield (88 mins).
Not used: Michael Devine, Neal Horgan. Billy Woods, Cillian Lordan.
Booked: Murray (76 mins).
Goals: Darren Murphy (23 mins); Kearney (39 mins); Behan (63 mins); Ryan (70 mins).

Dungannon Swifts (4-5-1) Dwayne Nelson; Ryan Mullan, Adam McMinn, Darragh Peden, Joe McKee; Jamie Tomelty, Michael Hegarty, Fergal McAliskey, Darren Murphy, Shea McGerrigan; Aaron Baker.

Subs: Aaron McIlwee for Darren Murphy (61 mins); Brandon Regan for Dwayne Nelson (64 mins); Timmy Adamson for Michael Hegarty (86 mins).
Not used: Rodney McAree.
Booked: McMinn (63 mins).
Goals: McGerrigan (54 mins).

Referee: Alan Kelly.

Man of the match: Liam Kearney.

Photo nicked from CorkCityFC.ie

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