Analysis: Cork City strike form but cheap goals have ruined their season

Graham Cummins on the key signings the Rebel Army need to make
Analysis: Cork City strike form but cheap goals have ruined their season

Cork City's Beineón O'Brien-Whitmarsh has his shot blocked by Bray Wanderers' Aaron Barry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

HOW... 

That was the word that came to my mind as the referee blew the final whistle in Turner's Cross on Friday night. How, did City manage to throw away a two-goal lead to draw with Bray Wanderers in a game that they dominated from start to finish?

Cork City's Mark McNulty and manager Colin Healy (to the left) after Bray Wanderers levelled late Turner's Cross on Friday night. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork City's Mark McNulty and manager Colin Healy (to the left) after Bray Wanderers levelled late Turner's Cross on Friday night. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

This was easily City’s best performance of the season, and they had enough chances to win three or four games. Striker, Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh was guilty of missing the majority of those opportunities but the blame can’t lie with the 21-year-old for City dropping points.

I know strikers will be judged on goals, but I thought O’Brien-Whitmarsh was outstanding against Bray. Yes, he was should have been more clinical but what was encouraging was that he was getting into threatening positions to get those opportunities. He was prepared to miss chances to get a goal. 

There are strikers, who if they miss a couple of chances will shy away from getting into the opposition box in case they do get another and miss again. O’Brien-Whitmarsh showed a lot of courage to keep trying to get on the scoresheet even though he was having no joy.

On another night, he could have easily had a hat-trick but he was the creator of his opportunities through hard work and willingness to make clever runs. 

A few weeks ago, I was worried that O’Brien-Whitmarsh might not be able to make the step-up to first-team football but after the past several games, and in particular, against Bray, I’m confident he will have a big future in the game. He still managed to provide two assists for Cian Murphy, who is also starting to show signs that he can fulfill his potential.

His work-rate can never be questioned, and that is now been rewarded by the goals he is scoring.

His two finishes might have looked easy but they were poacher's goals and that’s an encouraging sign. I always felt a negative to Murphy’s game was that he concentrated too much on work outside the box and wasn’t getting into the danger areas when the ball was played into the penalty area. 

His two goals were both just outside the six-yard box, and as a striker, there the goals you want to be scoring. Yes, it’s nice scoring the odd screamer but you're not going to score 10 goals like that a season, where a striker will if he is always positioning himself looking for the tap-ins.

LEADERSHIP

Steven Beattie had his best game in a City shirt since returning to the club. He looked sharp and showed real leadership on the pitch. He was communicating throughout with his teammates and it was clear how much the win would have meant to him towards the end of the game. 

Knowing him, he will be the most disappointed in that City dressing room by the result. He is a winner, even in training, he was always desperate to win games. He was aggressive throughout the game and was against one of the best players in the division in Brandon Kavanagh but didn’t give the Shamrock Rovers loanee a second to influence the game.

Gearoid Morrissey is another player that seems to be getting back to his best. He looks a much fitter player than the one we saw a few weeks ago, and what has impressed me most recently about his performances, is the way he is picking up second ball and goes forward when he is in possession.

Cork City's Gordan Walker heads goalwards against Bray Wanderers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork City's Gordan Walker heads goalwards against Bray Wanderers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Despite all the positives, it was the same old story for City by giving away two sloppy goals. 

With the transfer window open, I think we all agree that City will be in the market for a goalscorer but an ‘ugly’ centre-back should become a priority now for the team. 

City look vulnerable anytime a high ball is played into their box. In this division especially, they need a player that just wants to put his head on everything and doesn’t care about looking good.

With the departure of Jack Baxter, a defensive midfielder is needed in the team. Again, at this moment, I don’t think City need a player who wants to get on the ball and try and hit 40-yard passes. They need a player who just wants to protect the defence and when he is on the ball, will just make the simple pass.

The result against Bray was disheartening but they are more positives than negatives to take away from the game for City.

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