CORK CITY WFC secured their second victory of the 2021 Women’s National League season as they defeated Munster rivals Treaty United 2-1 at Jackman Park on Wednesday evening.
Nathalie O’Brien’s second-half penalty proved to be the difference between these two rivals to ensure City earned the bragging rights that sees them climb off the bottom of the table and into joint sixth.
Paul Farrell made two changes to his starting eleven that was comprehensively beaten 5-0 by Peamount United at Turner’s Cross just four days previously with Ciara McNamara and Shaunagh McCarthy returning from injury to take the place of Kate O’Donovan and Nadine Seward.
His call for a much faster start here against Treaty were duly answered as the Leesiders raced out of the traps and took the lead with less than two minutes on the clock.
They almost scored even sooner but Laura Shine’s superbly controlled volley from point-blank range following Sarah McKevitt’s excellent cross from the right-wing was somehow tipped over her crossbar by goalkeeper Michaela Mitchell.
But City wouldn’t be denied their early lead as from the resulting corner, another fine delivery by McKevitt picked out Leahy Murphy, who was up from the back and expertly planted her header into the far bottom right corner.
The visitors’ high tempo was evident again shortly after the kick-off as the lively Laura Shine immediately pressed the ball as it was passed back to the keeper and the Republic of Ireland under 19 international was unfortunate to see her block deflected away from the target.
They threatened down the left-wing in the ninth minute but Christina Dring, who is the skipper in the absence of Cassin, just couldn’t connect with Shaunagh McCarthy’s ball across the face of goal.
Treaty soon settled into the game and they almost levelled the scores just shy of the quarter of an hour but as former City playmaker Tara O’Gorman broke clear on goal but after her initial effort was brilliantly saved by the onrushing Abby McCarthy, who made herself big, her rebound was hacked off the line by the alert Danielle Burke.
But the reprieve was all too brief as United would snatch the equaliser moments later thanks to a stunning strike from the in-form Jenna Slattery, who found the roof of the net from all of 30 yards.
City quickly regrouped and they twice went close to retaking the lead with McKevitt again causing problems with her pace down the right. She twice picked out Shine with a great inswinging cross but on both occasions, the attacker’s close-range headers were saved by Mitchell.
Olivia Gibson, along with Jesse Mendez and O’Gorman, is another former City player making an impression at Treaty and she nearly completed the turnaround for her new side in the closing stages of the first half but after cleverly cutting past her marker inside the penalty area, she sent a tame strike straight at McCarthy.
City remained on top either side of the half-time break but their best attempts all came from distance with McKevitt and Mangan dropping shots just over before Kate O’Donovan, who was introduced at the interval, tested Mitchell at the beginning of the second period.
They would finally get their reward in the 52nd minute as Christina Dring was bundled over inside the box, giving Nathalie O’Brien the chance to coolly slot the ball into the bottom left corner from the penalty spot.
It ought to have been 3-1 minutes later but after turning brilliantly, Shine dragged her strike wide of the far post from a good position.
Treaty upped the tempo as they looked to punish their opponents for not taking their chances but Aoife Horgan and Gibson were guilty of spurning some good openings, while the latter also saw a goal disallowed for offside past the hour.
The home side battled until the end but City restricted them to few opportunities although they did breathe a huge sigh of relief when Aoife Horgan missed an open goal late on.