AFTER a defeat, it’s easy to declare a crisis and reach for some nuclear solutions which, you’re certain, will ensure that a game is never lost again.
Losses always invite introspection and it’s no bad thing as wins can provide a façade which hides real problems, but there is always the risk of over-examining something.
Cork City didn’t deserve to beat Waterford last Friday night, but at the same time the goals they conceded could have been avoided.
The build-up for both originated in loose City play but even then, had Conor McCormack got less contact on Gavan Holohan’s cross or Seán McLoughlin got more on Ismahil Akinade’s shot, the ball wouldn’t have gone in.
Allowing for the equaliser, City had a great chance through Barry McNamee immediately afterwards.
If that had gone in, then the odds were that the points would have been going back to Cork.
The same kinks would exist in the team, but they wouldn’t receive as much focus because of the result.
For City, getting the balance right in the front third looks to be one of those issues right now.
McNamee has been most effective as a number 10 but has found himself out on the right wing with Garry Buckley in the middle and Karl Sheppard on the bench, though Buckley’s impending suspension for his red card on Friday will necessitate a change.
A three of Sheppard, McNamee and Sadlier behind Graham Cummins has been very effective on occasion this season – including the President’s Cup, they have been together for 364 minutes with an aggregate scoreline of 14-2 in City’s favour in that time, with the Sligo Rovers game the standout, as well as the three-goal blitz against Bray Wanderers a week and a half ago.
However, against that is the fact they were all present for the bulk of the games against Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Limerick too, with City only scoring two Sadlier penalties in that time.
Manager John Caulfield knows that there are some things which need tweaking, but at the same time he knows that there is no great need for major surgery.
“To be honest, I just want to get the players re-focused and just get their confidence back,” he said after last Friday’s game.
“You go from the top of the league and become a bad team overnight. It’s not that we were bad, but the second half just wasn’t good enough.”
One other thing to note is that, even allowing for the two away defeats, City are two points off the top with six of their games have been away from home. It’s the opposite for Dundalk, while Waterford have had five at home and four away.
Obviously, relying on that to be enough is like counting games in hand as points in the bag, but it is something to be aware of.
The important thing for City is to ensure that home comforts help them back on the winning trail against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.