Waterford 0 Cork City 0
CORK City earned their first away point of the season after a stalemate with Waterford at the Regional Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon.
While it wasn’t a game to set the pulse racing, the result did at least represent some progress for City as they kept a clean sheet against John Sheridan’s side and moved off the bottom of the table prior to Sligo Rovers’ evening clash with Shelbourne.
City had two changes from last week’s 1-0 defeat at home to Bohemians, with Rob Slevin replacing Alec Byrne while Cory Galvin came in for Dylan McGlade. Manager Neale Fenn opted to go with a back three as Kevin O’Connor slotted in alongside Joseph Olowu and captain Alan Bennett, with Slevin operating as left wing-back. Club captain Gearóid Morrissey remained ruled out with injury.
The first half offered little, with chances few and far between as each side found it difficult to create openings. For City, Dáire O’Connor and Galvin were playing off centre-forward Cian Murphy but too often the City defenders were short of option playing the ball out as Waterford crowded midfield. With the Blues using a 4-4-2, they looked to go long to strikers Michael O’Connor and Kurtis Byrne – who had a recent trial with City – but they were unable to create much, either.
Early on, Olowu had to be alert to dispossess O’Connor while a good City move on the quarter-hour almost led to Murphy getting in but Sam Bone was on hand to avert the danger there.
On 21, Kevin O’Connor wasn’t far away for City with a curling free kick from 25 yards and shortly after that Galvin showed what he could do as nice footwork saw him come in from the left but his effort from a tight angle went across the face of goal.
As the half ended, Waterford were also looking brighter and they should have made more of a good move where O’Connor and Byrne linked with the latter looking to play in Matt Smith but the pass was ahead of the winger. Then, a good low cross from right winger Alastair Coote was fired over by Smith.
After the restart, Waterford looked to pick up where they left off and twice went close in the early stages. First, a good delivery from right-back Tunmise Sobowale found Michael O’Connor but he couldn’t keep his shot down. Not long after, a move originating from the left looked like it only needed Byrne to tap in but he was denied by Kevin O’Connor – unfairly, in the eyes of Waterford, who felt that the Wexford native had used his hands.
If the hosts were angry with that, they would have been incensed two minutes later if a shot from the edge if the area by McGlade – on at half-time for the injured Dáire O’Connor – had been a foot lower. Instead, it thundered off the crossbar, with the attacker firing over with the follow-up.
Even so, Waterford had the ball in threatening positions more option. On the hour-mark, Tyreke Wilson’s free kick from the left went across the City goalmouth and any touch would have led to a goal, while Sam Bone’s header from a Wilson corner drew a McNulty save.
With 16 minutes remaining, Coote create a chance for Waterford midfielder Shane Griffin and his shot was goal-bound but Kevin O’Connor did well to block and Byrne was denied by McNulty just after that. At the other end, all City could muster was a Galvin shot at Brian Murphy before the attacker had to depart injured.
Deep in injury time, Waterford looked like they might have won it. Wilson’s cross found Smith in the box and he did well to help it on for sub Will Fitzgerald, who looked set to score but Ronan Hurley – only just on for Slevin – blocked and McNulty claimed the loose ball.
WATERFORD: Murphy; Sobowale, Bone, McCourt, Wilson; Coote, Weir, Griffin, Smith; O’Connor (Fitzgerald 67), Byrne.
CORK CITY: McNulty; Olowu, Bennett, K O’Connor; Kargbo, Coleman, Ochieng, Slevin (Hurley 90); D O’Connor (McGlade half-time), Galvin (Bargary 70); Murphy.
Referee: A Reale (Kildare).