Clarke strikes late to salvage point for 10-man Saints
Cork City 1 St Patrick's Athletic 1
Sub Dean Clarke earned ten-man St Patrick's Athletic a draw at Turner's Cross with a last-minute equaliser - but the match was marred by crowd trouble, with gardai intervening in the stands during an anti-John Delaney protest.
Graham Cummins' first-half penalty looked to have been the only goal as the clock moved towards 90 minutes, but Pat's snatched a draw as Clarke seized on defensive uncertainty to poke the ball home.
Watched by an official attendance of 2,604, it was an encouraging performance from the Rebel Army, who had lost their previous two games, to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, to drop to seventh place.
They were the better side, but couldn't find a second goal. Pat's, without suspended top scorer Mikey Drennan and also missing Chris Forrester, lacked of creativity and couldn't make much inroads with ten men in the second half until the late drama.
With goals a problem for much of the season, City manager John Caulfield switched from his customary 4-2-3-1 to a 4-2-2-2, youngster Cian Murphy brought in for just his second start alongside Graham Cummins, while Garry Comerford was given his full league debut.
Murphy had some nice touches early on as City took the game to Pat's, though the visitors had the first real chance, Rhys McCabe flashing a volley wide.
On 17 minutes, City twice hit the post in quick succession, from with Dan Casey's header from a Comerford throw and then Cummins with the follow-up, while Gearóid Morrissey fired over too.
By this stage, City had lost Murphy to a hamstring injury, replaced by fellow U-19 player in Darragh Crowley, but they continued to press and took the lead in the 35th minute.
While there didn't appear to be danger as they held possession outside the Pat's area, referee Seán Grant was notified by his assistant that David Webster had caught Cumins in an off-the-ball incident in the area and a penalty resulted, with Webster sent off.
Cummins sent a low spot-kick past Brendan Clarke for his second goal of the season and they almost doubled the lead in injury time. Comerford launched a long-range effort which Clarke touched on to the crossbar and Crowley would have netted the rebound but for a great saving tackle by Kevin Toner.
Against 10 men, City controlled the second half, without creating many chances, although Cummins twice came close with headers. Pat's had n opportunity when Gary Shaw headed straight at Mark McNulty.
Comerford sent another effort from distance straight at Clark, while Morrissey, set up by the lively Crowley, fired over from a tight angle.
They looked to have done enough, but Clarke had other ideas.
Cork City - McNulty; McCarthy, Bennett, Casey, K O'Connor (Griffin 81); McCormack, Comerford; Buckley (Gillam 90), Morrissey; Murphy (Crowley 26), Cummins.
St Patrick's Athletic - Clarke; Webster, Toner, Desmond; Madden, McCabe, Lennon (Doona 84), Clifford, Bermingham (Kelly h-t); Markey (D Clarke 73); Shaw.
Ref - S Grant (Wexford).