Cork City never hit top gear against Wexford, they'll have to in Galway on Friday

First Division title race is now down to two teams with John Caulfield's side a nose ahead
Cork City never hit top gear against Wexford, they'll have to in Galway on Friday

Cork City fans' reaction to a miss by Barry Coffey against Wexford at Turner's Cross Picture: Eddie O'Hare

CORK CITY can’t argue with the outcome of the game against Wexford.

Ian Ryan’s men were well deserving of the draw and caused City a lot of problems.

Wexford’s front-three we’re excellent on the night. Aaron Dobbs lead the line superbly, and City struggled to cope with the positions of Jack Doherty and Conor Davis. Both Doherty and Davis were excellent by starting our wide and coming inside to collect the ball.

It made it difficult for the City defenders to know who should go and pick up both Wexford players. The interchange between Wexford forwards was very impressive and they played with confidence and freedom.

I’ve highlighted in the past how good a player I think Doherty is. Football looks effortless to him at times and he wouldn’t be a player that would look out of place in a City shirt.

I’m sure he would jump at the opportunity at professional football again having played with Ipswich Town in the past.

Cork soccer stars Jaze Kabia, Falkirk, Chiedozie Ogbene, Rotherham, and Conor McCarthy, St Mirren, watching against Wexford at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork soccer stars Jaze Kabia, Falkirk, Chiedozie Ogbene, Rotherham, and Conor McCarthy, St Mirren, watching against Wexford at Turner's Cross. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Davis was another player that stood out for Wexford. Despite having never played a game with the club during his time as a City player because of injury, Davis looked like a player with a point to prove.

He was sharp every time in possession of the ball and harassed the City defence when Colin Healy’s side did try to play out from the back.

Though Wexford were very good and deserve a lot of credit, City never hit top gear. There seemed to lack of intensity in their game. 

Even towards the end of the match with City playing into the shed, I expected the home side to throw everything at the visitors but Wexford comfortably saw out the game.

Usually, when City are pushing for a winner in games; visiting teams struggle to get out of their own penalty area and it’s just an onslaught but that was not the case in this game.

Healy opted to go with a change of formation in the hope of isolating Cian Murphy with Wexford’s right-back but the Tipperary native rarely got the opportunity to cause Aidan Friel problems. Coming short and showing to feet to get the ball isn’t Murphy’s strength.

SPACE

He is more suited to balls being played into space ahead of him and giving him the opportunity to create a race against a defender and taking the defender on from there.

We saw him do that once in the second half and City almost scored. The striker did brilliantly to set up Barry Coffey, only for the midfielder’s effort to go wide.

Coffey is a player I thought the switch in formation from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 would have suited more because his strength is running beyond the striker and getting into the box.

4-3-3 allows him more freedom to do this because of the extra man in midfield but he never really got a foothold in the game. He hasn’t reached his usual standards in recent games.

Perhaps he is distracted by the uncertainty surrounding his future with his loan due to expire next month as well as his contract with his parent club Celtic. Until his future is sorted that understandable will create a distraction for Coffey.

Another concern for City from this game, especially ahead of their clash with Galway United, is the number of opportunities they conceded in the game. City have been excellent defensively this year but Wexford could have easily had scored another one or two goals.

They didn’t look comfortable playing with four at the back. They did revert back to the three at the back in the second half, which improved them defensively but they were vulnerable at set-pieces against Wexford, conceding the goal from one.

That is an area they cannot be weak in against Galway because the league leaders are particularly strong on deliveries in both boxes.

It’s still very early in the season, and if you had offered the position City find themselves in at the stage of the campaign at the start of the year, I think everyone associated with the club would have taken your hand off.

That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be disappointed not be winning games against Wexford at Turner’s Cross.

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