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Candystripes pay price for poor defending after threatening to stun champions Cork

Cork City 4 Derry City 2

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City's losing run continued at Turners Cross yesterday, but not before they gave champions Cork City an almighty scare in an action-packed game.

The Candystripes, 2-0 down after 46 minutes, pulled it back to 2-2 with goals from Ronan Curtis and Ronan Hale, until poor defending once again let them down in the closing stages.

Derry enjoyed a relatively composed start, but that lasted all of seven minutes as Cork scored with their first meaningful attack of the game.

Graham Cummins received the ball on the left wing and twisted and turned until he got a yard on Gavin Peers. His near-post cross was met by Karl Sheppard, who glanced a superb header past Gerard Doherty from six yards.

Derry still had reason to be optimistic and they got a sight of the Cork goal on the half-hour when Ronan Hale back-heeled the ball into the path of the supporting Aaron McEneff, who skipped into the area before curling over Mark McNulty's crossbar.

Derry's hard work was almost ruined on 40 minutes when a pass forward from Barry McNamee was somehow allowed to skip right through the defence, sending Cummins scampering through on goal.

Fortunately for the visitors, Doherty was alert and he was out early to block and deflect the ball off the Cork striker for a goal kick.

It took Cork just 30 seconds to double their lead after the restart.

With Jamie McDonagh down injured following a header, Cork broke forward and outnumbered Eoin Toal, with Garry Buckley's through ball swept in by Sheppard for his second goal of the game.

Derry gave themselves a lifeline on 66 minutes when Curtis pulled a goal back, the Portsmouth-bound forward beating McNulty from 25 yards with an effort which whistled into the bottom corner.

The game was completely turned on its head within three minutes as the Candystripes pulled level.

Jack Doyle's cross was collected by Ronan Hale, who took a touch before rifling the ball into the roof of the net past McNulty, leaving the majority of the fans at Turners Cross stunned.

But Cork were back in front within two minutes as referee Robert Hennessey controversially penalised Darren Cole for a challenge on Buckley 25 yards from goal.

The Derry wall disintegrated, allowing Kieran Sadlier's shot to sail through unopposed and find the bottom corner of the net despite the dive of a furious Doherty.

And the game was up for the Candystripes on 84 minutes as goalkeeper McNulty's big kick out sent Cummins in behind the Derry defence and, after his header came back off the crossbar, the striker was first to react to head in on the line to secure all three points for the champions.

Cork City: McNulty, Keohane, Cummins (Barry 86), Sadlier, Sheppard, Griffin (Kane 74), McCarthy, Horgan, McNamee (O'Hanlon 78), G Buckley, McLoughlin.

Derry City: Doherty, Cole, Toal, Peers (Logue 61), Doyle, McEneff, Hale, McDonagh, Hale, Curtis, Patterson.

Referee: Robert Hennessey.

Man of the Match: Kieran Sadlier (Cork City)

Belfast Telegraph

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