Cork City 2 Bohemians 1
CORK City secured a much-needed first win of the season in the Women’s National League as they deservedly defeated Bohemians 2-1 at Turner’s Cross on Saturday evening.
Second-half goals from Aoife Cronin and Becky Cassin - despite a late own goal - were enough to earn City their first three points of the season at the fourth attempt to lift the mood at the club heading into the international break.
Manager Paul Farrell made two changes from the starting eleven he selected ahead of their 7-0 defeat to champions Shelbourne last time out.
The experienced Nathalie O’Brien came in at right-back in place of Lauren Walsh while further forward Aoibhín Donnelly began on the left wing with Shaunagh McCarthy dropping to the substitute’s bench.
The Rebel Army started with plenty of fight and determination but they still almost fell behind inside the opening minutes.
Abby McCarthy raced from her line to hack away a dangerous ball over the top of her defence but her rushed clearance fell straight to the feet of Isobel Finnegan, who was unfortunate to see her effort clip the far post.
City almost made the most of that good fortune in the eighth minute but from a good position on the edge of the penalty area, captain Becky Cassin could only drag her tame effort wide of the bottom right corner.
City remained on top though and they again went close to edging in front with 11 minutes on the clock but after latching onto a sensational defense-splitting pass from the Republic of Ireland U19 Women’s international Eva Mangan, striker Nadine Seward blasted her strike from a tight angle straight at goalkeeper Courtney Maguire.
Arguably the Leesiders best chance of the first half came in the 27th minute but after winning the ball back inside the box, Aoibhín Donnelly quickly crossed for Aoife Cronin but from a few yards out the forward drove her hit over the crossbar.
Bohs, who claimed their first win of the season last time out when they beat Sligo Rovers 3-1 at the Showgrounds, eventually settled into the match and they had two great opportunities to take a lead into the break.
The first saw McCarthy drop an inswinging corner in her six-yard box but the visitors couldn’t scramble the ball over the goal line before the referee blew for a free.
The second - which came after a long delay following a serious-looking injury to left-back Katie Burdis - was more guilt-edged.
Another under-hit clearance from McCarthy fell kindly for Chloe Darby right in front of the goal. The netminder redeemed herself by making a great save with her feet but she was again left thanking her woodwork for keeping out Sinead Taylor’s rebound from close range.
Farrell introduced Christina Dring for Nadine Seward during the interval and the number nine twice went close to netting shortly after the restart but on both occasions, she headed wide from a corner and then from a free-kick.
City were back on top with Mangan pulling the strings in midfield and at times she was inches away from sending her teammates through on goal with a precise through ball.
That was until the 70th minute when her pass was weighted to perfection and it led to the opening goal of the game, and just City’s second of the season.
Danielle Burke marched out of defence with possession and after she found Mangan, the attacking midfielder’s precise pass was poked past the onrushing keeper by Dring allowing Cronin to slot the ball into the empty net for her first City goal.
Cassin thought she had eased the tension in the closing stages when she bundled home after brilliant play from Nathalie O’Brien although they would have to survive a nervy finale as an own goal - a sliced Ciara McNamara clearance was too much for McCarthy and O’Brien to deal with - had given Bohs feint hope.