Belfast Telegraph

Stalemate edges Candystripes closer to survival

Cork City 0 Derry City 0

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City edged a point closer to securing Premier Division safety with a battling display against Cork City at Turner's Cross last night.

At the final whistle, it was the Candystripes who were the more disappointed of the two teams as they passed up a number of good chances to take all three points.

Cork goalkeeper Mark McNulty and defender Alan Bennett in particular produced some late heroics to deny Paul Hegarty's team all three points.

Considering Derry were missing a number of regular starters, with the likes of Gerard Doherty, Philip Lowry and Patrick McEleney not making the trip, this was nonetheless a positive performance and result for the visitors.

They now face games against Bray Wanderers, Limerick, Bohemians and Longford Town in the remaining weeks of the season looking for the points to ensure their top flight status.

The game was barely five minutes old when Derry City came so close to opening the scoring.

Rob Cornwall worked his way towards the Cork penalty area from the left and his attempted pass into the feet of Ciaran O'Connor was intercepted by Conor McCormack, who took the ball into his stride as he burst into the Cork 18-yard box and his left foot shot brought a low save from McNulty.

The visitors really should have had a goal when terrific vision from Mark Timlin found the run of O'Connor in behind the Cork defence.

The pass opened up a clear shooting opportunity for the striker who drilled it low past McNulty, only for the ball to roll across goal and just wide of the far post.

That was a real opportunity for the Candystripes, but Cork were still a threat at the other end.

Indeed for all their hard work, Derry should really have gone behind in the first five minutes of the second period.

Ross Gaynor's sensational cross from the left flew straight onto the head of John O'Flynn just six yards from goal, but the striker's header was straight at Derry's stand-in goalkeeper Shaun Patton.

The game was anyone's for the taking in the closing stages and the winning goal almost came Derry's way on 81 minutes as a cross from the left from O'Connor was perfect for Cillian Morrison who sent a header back across goal, only for McNulty to produce a fantastic diving save.

The rebound fell straight to the feet of Stephen Dooley, but just when it seemed that the net would bulge, Bennett threw himself at the ball on the line to deny Dooley and Derry.

The Candystripes were breathing a sigh of relief, however, with just two minutes remaining.

Cork substitutes Steven Beattie and Danny Morrissey combined with the former crossing for the latter who somehow headed wide of the goal from eight yards when he had the whole net to aim at.

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