|01/04/19||19:45||EA Sports Cup||2019||2nd Round||991|
Cork City cruised into the quarter-finals of the EA Sports Cup as they saw off Cobh Ramblers before a crowd of 991 at Turner’s Cross last night.
Dominant for long periods, City were made to wait until shortly before half-time before taking the lead but, once they did so, they were never likely to be overhauled. Though Ramblers pulled one back at 3-1, a swift reply from City removed any doubts about the outcome.
Coming into the game on the back of Friday night’s loss to Dundalk, City had eight changes to the starting line-up, with Mark McNulty, Seán McLoughlin and Shane Griffin the only players remaining in situ. Ramblers had also been beaten in the league at the weekend, going down 1-0 at Bray Wanderers, and they had four alterations.
Ramblers midfielder David Hurley had the first sight of goal, firing over after a one-two with Stephen O’Leary, and then Charlie Lyons was unable to reach a dangerous-looking Matt Lamb free kick. By and large, however, the home side did more of the pressing, with Liam Nash going close on more than one occasion.
The first of those opportunities came in the 12th minute as he drew a good save from Paul Hunt following Shane Griffin’s nice pass, while five minutes after that a whizzed cross from Gary Boyler was just out of the striker’s reach.
At the other end, Cobh striker Jaze Kabia almost engineered a chance as he blocked a Mark McNulty clearance but the ball bounced favourably for the goalkeeper to collect.
It was only a brief interruption to the yellow and black City flow and on 26 Nash headed wide from another Boylan delivery before the same pair combined as Boylan’s diagonal pass gave the striker space and a superb Hunt save was needed to keep things scoreless.
However, they couldn’t hold out indefinitely and eight minutes before half-time City had the lead. While he had had the bulk of the chances, Nash wasn’t the scorer but instead was the provider. From a McNulty goal kick, he flicked the ball into the path of James Tilley on the right and he carried possession to the edge of the area before firing a low shot beyond the dive of Hunt.
They held that lead until half-time and it was to be doubled within three minutes of the restart. Tilley and Cobh’s Kabia both had speculative efforts on the resumption, neither really testing the respective goalkeepers, but on 48 Smith’s neat pass gave Nash space on the right of the area and he slotted past Hunt to give a sense of putting the game to bed.
Nash went close again straight after that, drawing a save from Hunt following a cross from Ronan Hurley, while Pierce Phillips was similarly denied by the visitors’ custodian following a long-range effort.
Phillips went close again just after the hour but the third goal wasn’t long in arriving. After a backpass to Hunt, Nash pressured well, resulting in a loose clearance to Garry Comerford and he perfectly judged his half-volley to send the ball back over the goalkeeper with interest for his first City goal.
There was a noticeable drop in tempo thereafter, with the outcome all but decided, though Ramblers did almost pull one back on 74, Kabia heading over from a cross by first-half sub Ian Turner.
A goal did materialise for the visitors on 77 after defensive mix-up by City saw the ball bounce around the area, Kabia hitting the post and Turner with an effort blocked on the line, allowing Denzil Fernandes to head home the rebound from close range.
However, any hopes Cobh had of clawing their way back were dashed immediately as City sub Darragh Crowley, an Ireland U19 international, marked his arrival with a goal, firing past Hunt with his first touch.
From there, City saw things out, despite finishing with an unorthodox back four as Shane Daly-Bütz came on at right-back and Gary Boylan and Shane Griffin – both normally full-backs – formed a central defensive partnership.