|06/03/20||19:45||SSE Airtricity League||2020||2078|
By Denis Hurley for EchoLive.ie
Billy King’s goal for St Patrick’s Athletic early in the second half was the difference as Cork City’s troubles on the road continued at Richmond Park on Friday night.
The Rebel Army haven’t scored away in the league since a 2-1 triumph at Waterford on August 16 last; on the same night, Pat’s beat Sligo Rovers at home but had failed to find the net at Richmond Park since then. Something had to give, it seemed, but unfortunately for Neale Fenn’s side it was to be Pat’s night.
City had four changes from last week’s win at home to Finn Harps. Goalkeeper Liam Bossin suffered a concussion in that clash and his absence was flagged, while captain Gearóid Morrissey had been a doubt and failed to make it. In came Mark McNulty in goal, as skipper, while Cian Coleman returned from injury to slot in at midfield.
In addition, Deshane Dalling was absent from the matchday squad, with Beineón O’Brien-Whitmarsh taking over in attack, while Charlie Fleming replaced Kyron Stabana at right-back after a good cameo against Harps.
Against his former club, Dylan McGlade started well for City and had what was one of their better chances midway through the opening period but, having been given sight of goal from Alec Byrne, couldn’t get his shot right.
On the Pat’s left wing, Billy King looked capable of making things happen and more than once in the first half he showed flashes of what he was about, though Fleming looked to have got to grips with him as the half progressed. Twice Pat’s went close from free kicks, captain Chris Forrester testing McNulty with a 30-yard free kick on 13 minutes while Martin Rennis wasn’t far over with an effort just after the half-hour.
Rennie had earlier been denied by a strong Joe Redmond challenge in the City area and five minutes before half-time City’s other centre-back, Joseph Olowu had to be alert to cut out a Forrester pass intended for Rennie after a good run.
Just before the break, McGlade and Coleman linked well as the winger found space on the left and he looked to find O’Brien-Whitmarsh with an early ball but the he was unable to pick out his target and Derek Tomney’s whistle signalled the end of a scoreless half.
The opening ten minutes of the second half were without incident, but the game came to life as Pat’s finally ended their duck with their first home goal under Stephen O’Donnell. When midfielder Lee Desmond found space outside the City area, he was able to pick out the run of King with a lofted ball and the winger produced a good finish, to the joy of the majority of the crowd of 2,078.
City did almost conjure an immediate reply as they worked the ball into the Pat’s area but Cian Coleman was denied by a fine Brendan Clarke save. At the other end, the Saints had more confidence now and when Dean Clarke picked out Dan Ward he had a chance to make it 2-0 but scooped his effort over.
On 67, Rennie went closer than anyone to doubling the lead as he met Jason McClelland’s cross but his header came back off the underside of the crossbar and Luke McNally was unable to get to the rebound.
For City, Dáire O’Connor tried to test Clarke with a long-range effort but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper and King tried to double his tally for Pat’s but couldn’t find the target from distance.
City sought to change things as Reyon Dillon came on for O’Brien-Whitmarsh and in his first action he collided with Pat’s defender Oliver Younger, necessitating a hold-up before the defender had to be stretchered off.
When the action resumed, City had a half-chance as Redmond got on the end of a McGlade free kick but Clarke saved and Dillon couldn’t get the loose ball. In the fourth of ten added minutes, they had an even better opportunity when Fleming picked out Dillon with a cross but he headed over.