Analysis: Cork City paid the price for not protecting the ball late on

Colin Healy's men failed to make full use of their extra man in the second half
Analysis: Cork City paid the price for not protecting the ball late on

Cork City's Jack Baxter (30) celebrates his goal with teammates against Galway United. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

WHILE there was disappointment for Cork City in conceding a late equaliser against Galway on Friday night, what frustrated me far more was the manner the game was played.

Ten yellow and two red cards... it was atrocious to watch. The stop-start nature, caused by referee Alan Carey, made it a difficult watch that had absolutely no fluidity over the 90 minutes. 

Were all the bookings deserved? Certainly not. The majority of them came from the loud screams from players rolling on the ground, instead of genuine bad tackles. This carry-on from senior players was frustrating to say the least.

Six yellow cards were awarded to City while the visitors picked up four and two reds. Stephen Walsh saw red just before halftime with an off-the-ball tackle on Cian Coleman, while coach Johnny Glynn got his marching orders from the dugout.

City will be very disappointed not to have got three points especially when they conceded on the 90th minute. However, with 87 minutes on the clock, I questioned some of the players' decisions. 

IMPATIENT

When keeping possession looked the obvious choice, Mark McNulty chose to hit 50-50 long balls over the top, which more times than not came back to him just as quickly. Why not play it to his full-backs and try keep the ball? 

Gearoid Morrissey went on a great run and had an opportunity to take the ball to the corner at one stage but instead rushed the play and gave away possession? Again, why not try hold onto the ball and run down the clock? 

What was the rush? City were a goal up. Remember City also had an extra man. 

By not slowing down the game and keeping possession, they found themselves under pressure which then led to the late equaliser. 

A sickener for Colin Healy no doubt.

Healy made two changes from their previous game against UCD which saw Morrissey replace the injured Alec Byrne while Beineon O’Brien Whitmarsh replaced Jack Walsh in the starting line up. To be fair to City they started well and in the opening minute, Cian Bargarry made a superb run only for his strike on goal to be denied by Conor Kearns. 

Cian Murphy also had a great effort that was agonisingly wide of the post after great play which involved Morrissey and Bargarry. In this period Galway had just one strike on goal and that came from Mikey Place which was gathered by McNulty.

The home side enjoyed the majority of the possession in the opening half-hour and really passed the ball well. Without Walsh up top, the majority of the play was to both Murphy and Whitmarsh’s feet which was great to see as it meant City played better football and were constantly looking to break down the Galway defence which proved difficult at times.

As expected, Galway played very little attractive football but instead at every opportunity looked to play a long direct ball up to Ruairi Keating and Padraic Cunningham however they caused no threat to the City defence of Coleman, Jonas Hakkinen and Gordon Walker. 

The sending-off just before half time gave me some belief that City might push on and dominate in the second half however that wasn’t to be.

Dylan McGlade created City’s first chance of the half when he dazzled past three players before a last-ditch tackle from Galway’s Killian Brouder denied him a shot. The visitors defended well in this half which Conor McCormack and Cork man Dave Hurley battling hard. However, City finally broke through and a superb volley from Jack Baxter on the 79th minute gave them a deserved lead. 

City failed to hold on when Maurice Nugent’s header found the back of the net on the 90th minute. A disappointing end to a disappointing game.

DERBY

Next week will be a local derby as City travel to St Colman’s Park to take on Cobh Ramblers in what should be another entertaining contest. Both sides are desperately seeking another win. 

Stuart Ashton’s Ramblers were disappointed to come away from Athlone with a 2-1 loss having taken the lead through an early goal from Killian Cooper. I expect next week’s game to be another tough encounter. 

If City can retain possession throughout the game as good as they did in the opening 30 minutes of last Friday’s game against Galway, then I would expect them to come out on top.

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