IT’S the final round of fixtures before the mid-season break, but for Cork City and Cobh Ramblers, there is the small matter of the Cork derby on Friday night at St Colman’s Park (7.45pm) to take care of before the players can switch to holiday mode.
Both teams will be disappointed with the points they have accumulated in the league so far and both are in need of the three points.
Ramblers are yet to win at home this season having lost three of their four games at St. Colman’s Park and have conceded 11 goals in the process. City away record doesn’t read well either.
The Rebel Army are yet to win on the road this season but have had two creditable draws in their previous two away games against Bray Wanderers and UCD.
The cliché of form goes out the window when it comes to a derby, will suit Ramblers more.
Stuart Aston’s side are on a terrible run of four successive defeats whereas City are unbeaten in their last four fixtures.
Last week’s 1-1 draw against Galway United will feel like a defeat for City. To throw away a lead in the last minute against 10-men would have been tough for the City players to take. After a bright first half, they struggled against John Caulfield’s team in the second half and the lack of experience in the side showed.
They panicked against the 10-men and made a lot of mistakes. When Jack Baxter did give City the lead, they didn’t do enough to take the sting out of the match. Going ahead in the final few moments of a game, a team needs to slow the match down and frustrate the opposition players. Wasting time is a skill, and something this young City side haven’t seemed to have learnt yet.
How often do we see players walk to throw-ins, only to get another player on the team to then take the throw?
When a player is fouled, he should stay down as long as possible. These tricks irate the opposition team.
City are too honest. Even when they scored, there were only 40 seconds between the ball hitting the back of the Galway net and the Tribesmen resuming the game. It’s a learning curve for these City players.
Conceding the last-minute goal against Galway could be beneficial for them in the long run because I would hope, in a similar situation, they would know all the tricks of how to waste time and see out a lead.
When the teams met on the opening day of the season, City came out on top winning 2-1 - a game that they didn’t deserve to win.
City have changed their approach to matches since that night at Turner’s Cross. Against Cobh, City had a lot of possession passing across their defence. Their emphasises was more about keeping the ball rather than getting it forward. They have changed their tactics since that evening. They are taking fewer risks at the back, meaning they are more defensively solid, and they are more inclined to go from back to front.
Jack Walsh was among the substitutes for City against Galway but should be back in the starting 11 against Ramblers. It’s a game that will suit the former Avondale striker.
St Colman’s Park isn’t the greatest playing surface at the best of times and considering how poor the weather has been recently it might be a night where keeping the ball on the ground would not be the best option.
Beineon O’Brien-Whitemarsh and Cian Murphy done well in the first half against Galway playing alongside each other but if teams are going to go with two upfront then it’s better to have one of the strikers to be a player who can be a physical presence, especially in the First Division.
Ramblers need a victory to kick-start what has been a poor season. Aston’s side have only recorded one win but a victory against City will mean a lot to them.
I played in a few Cork derbies for Ramblers and I always felt it meant more to Cobh players than City’s.
The Rebel Army are seen as the bigger outfit and as much as Ramblers are a brilliant club, if it came to a choice, players would want to play for City.
Some of the Ramblers players will see it as an opportunity to impress Colin Healy to try and manoeuvre a move to City.
More in this section