Cork City 0 Treaty United 2
CORK City slumped to their second defeat of the season and squandered a huge opportunity in the race for the Dirst Division title in the process as they were deservedly beaten on home turf.
A stunning strike from Ben O’Riordan and a Marc Ludden penalty were enough to end City’s 22-match unbeaten run but the Rebel Army remain three points clear at the top of the table ahead of their game in hand against Waterford on Monday following Galway’s loss to Waterford.
Colin Healy made two changes from the side that started their empathic 6-1 victory at home to Athlone Town last Friday as Jonas Hakkinen replaced Josh Honohan in defence while Louis Britton came in for Cian Murphy in attack.
There was also a change in formation as they switched back to the usual 3-5-2 instead of the 4-3-3 which worked so well against Athlone.
City started brightly and they almost took the lead in the third minute when Darragh Crowley broke free down the right-hand side but Ruairí Keating somehow failed to connect with his dangerous cross before Dylan McGlade’s scuffed strike was hacked off the line by the United rearguard.
Treaty have improved since their 5-0 hammering at the hands of City back at the end of June - winning three of their last four league outings - and they soon took control of proceedings.
Lee Devitt fired a powerful strike from distance just over in the fourth minute while the lively Success Edogun soon drilled an effort into the side netting before he saw his fierce hit tipped wide of the far top left corner by the outstretched David Harrington.
But the Republic of Ireland under 21 goalkeeper was beaten just shy of the quarter of an hour mark as Ben O’Riordan - formerly of Cobh Ramblers - sent a thunderous, unstoppable drive from 25 yards into the roof of the Shed End net.
City almost immediately snatched an equaliser but after Barry Coffey’s shot was saved by Jack Brady, Keating couldn’t sort out his feet in time to hammer home the rebound.
Jonas Hakkinen looped a header off the top of the bar from a Matt Healy corner with 31 minutes on the clock but other than that Treaty were comfortable as City lacked urgency going forward and too many passes were misplaced.
Things got even worse for the home side at the beginning of the second half as Hakkinen fouled Sean Guerins inside the box, allowing captain Marc Ludden to slot the ball into the bottom left corner from the penalty spot to double Treaty’s lead.
Healy quickly made a triple substitution but it failed to have an impact as Treaty remained comfortable and continued to deal with City’s long, aimless passes.
City's best chances both fell to Kevin O’Connor but after he curled a poor free from a good position straight at the keeper, he sent a header harmlessly over late on.