By Graham Cummins for EchoLive.ie | Photo: Peadar O'Sullivan
Cork City got back to winning ways in the First Division after their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Munster rivals Waterford at the RSC on Monday afternoon.
Goals from Matt Healy and Ally Gilchrist were enough to earn Colin Healy’s side all three points against Waterford who had equalised in the game through Phoenix Patterson
Played before an attendance of 1,575 it was another battling display from the league leaders and one in which they showed their defensive qualities once again.
City’s game management has been praised throughout the season and they displayed this again against Waterford, showing all their experience to come away with all three points.
City made two changes from the side that drew with Bray Wanderers three days earlier. Captain Cian Coleman made a welcomed return to the starting line-up for the first time in six outings and Matt Srbely was also included in the starting 11 for only the second time this season.
There was a real purpose from Waterford in the early stages and the home side were unlucky not to be ahead in the second minute. Roland Idowu was given far too much time to cross to Louis Brittion but the on-loan Bristol City player saw his header come back off the post.
City were struggling to contain Waterford’s attack down the Blues' right-hand side and both Darragh Power and Idowu were creating problems for the away team.
However, against the run of play, City went ahead in the ninth minute after the ball fell to Healy on the edge of the penalty area and he showed superb technique with his outside of his right foot to volley beyond the outstretched arm of Waterford goalkeeper Bryan Murphy.
Ruairi Keating almost had his side further in front after some excellent work from Cian Murphy, whose low driving cross was met by his striking partner but he was unable to direct his effort on target.
It was clever movement from Keating to create the space for himself at the front post but unfortunately for him, he did not make the correct contact with the ball he would have hoped for.
City grew in confidence and were looking the better team midway through the half. Matt Srbely was denied by Eddie Nolan from getting his first goal for the club after the Waterford defender managed to clear the ball off the line.
There was a lack of real quality of football on display in the final 15 minutes of the half with referee Gavin Colfer the busiest man on the pitch.
The man in charge found himself blowing his whistle time after time with both teams committing several fouls.
The Waterford players and crowd felt that Colfer should have been active in the final minute of the half when Yassine En-Neyah went down in the City penalty area from Jonas Hakkinen's challenge but much to the disbelief of many in the ground, Waterford’s appeal was waved away.
Waterford did create one more opportunity before the interval but David Harrington smartly saved Britton’s effort. City would have been happy with their first half display despite such a slow start. They were the more threatening throughout and looked comfortable in defence apart from the opening eight minutes.
The home side started the second-half on the front foot as they looked to get back on level terms.
Patterson registered the first notable effort of the half which Harrington comfortably dealt with.
Patterson did draw the sides level in the 59th minute. He showed quick feet and some neat play to create space for himself at the edge of the City penalty area and his low firing strike found the bottom corner of the net.
City restored their lead within four minutes. Gilchrist rose highest to meet Healy’s inswinging corner and his powerful header gave Murphy little chance in the Waterford goal.
Waterford almost snatched a point in the final minute of the game but Harrington was quick off his line to deny substitute Cian Kavanagh.
Referee: Gavin Colfer.[event_performance 116442]