Finn Harps 1
Cork City 1
THIRTY-EIGHT year-old Raffaele Cretaro denied Cork City what would have been a crucial victory in the basement battle in Ballybofey as he cracked home a 75th minute equaliser to give Finn Harps a share of the spoils in an absorbing encounter on Sunday evening.
The veteran, who came on as a substitute in the second half, scored with a low drive to give the Donegal side a draw that enables them to stay one point above City.
Cork broke the deadlock in the 57 minute. Leo Donnellan lost possession for Harps inside the City half and the visitors quickly moved the ball forward with Daire O’Connor supplying the pass for Dylan McGlade whose accurate, low shot just squeezed past the diving Mark Anthony McGinley and into the bottom of the net.
Harps had the better of the initial stages, with Barry McNamee prominent as they forced two corners.
But Cork soon settled and were on top in the first quarter with Kit Elliot making a nuisance of himself for the Harps backline.
Harps enjoyed a decent spell during the mid-point of the first-half and City were fortunate to survive a couple of scares after Karl O’Sullivan had forced Mark McNulty to go full-stretch to save, Firstly, Kosocar Sadiki was just unable to get the telling connection from close range as he tried to meet a Barry McNamee corner, and then Mark Russell found Austrian striker Alexander Kogler deep inside the box but from a promising position he steered the ball badly wide when he should have done better.
On 33 minutes, McGinley had to scamper across his goal to make a vital save as he managed to get a hand onto a Coleman header following a good cross from Deshane Dalling.
At the other end, in an entertaining affair, Russell let fly with a fine shot that McNulty had to react to smartly.
But the save of the half came on 36 minutes as Dylan McGlade, who was becoming increasingly influential, fired goalwards but McGinley was equal to the task with a fine one handed reflex save.
And Cork then went close again moments later when Dale Holland sent in a probing cross from the right and although Dalling arrived on time at the far post he was unable to provide the finish required and could only find the side-netting.
At the start of the second half, McGinley was called upon again to make another key save as he blocked Joseph Oluwu shot through a crowded goalmouth.
Cork went ahead on 57minute with McGlade’s goal putting them into the driving seat and on course for what would have been a first away win of the season.
But Cretaro then levelled the scores in the 75th minute with a low shot from outside the box.
Stephen Folan then went close with a free for Harps while substitute Adam Foley was not far off target with a shot from inside the box.
In the end a draw was a fair result.
A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in memory of Cork City club stalwart John Kennedy who died on September 18th.
Finn Harps: McGinley; McEleney, Sadiki, Folan; O’Sullivan, B. McNamee, Donnellan, Coyle, Todd; Kogler, Russell.
Subs: Cretaro for Kogler (h-t), Connolly for Coyle and Foley for Russell (both 61 mins), Serrant-Green for Todd (88 mins)
Cork City: McNulty; Holland, Olowu, Bennett, K. OConnor; D. O’Connor, Coleman, Morrissey, McGlade; Elliot, Dalling.
Subs: Fenwick for Elliot (73 mins), Simpson for Holland and O’Brien for D. O’Connor (both 78 mins).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).