Dean Clarke's late goal earns 10-man St Pat's a point at Turner's Cross
Cork City 1 St Patrick’s Athletic 1
Sub Dean Clarke earned ten-man St Patrick's Athleitc a draw at Turner's Cross with a last-minute equaliser tonight.
Graham Cummins' first-half penalty looked to have been the only goal as the clock moved towards 90 minutes, but Pat's were able to snatch a draw as Clarke seized upon defensive uncertainty to poke the ball home.
Watched by an official attendance of 2,604, it was an encouraging performance from the Revel Army, who had lost their previous two games, to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers, leaving them in seventh place at the start of the evening. They were the better side, but couldn't find a second goal. Pat's, without top scorer Mikey Drennan after his suspension was tended and also missing Chris Forrester, suffered from a lack 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 looked to take the game to Pat's, though the visitors did have 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 Morrssey fired over too.
By this stage, City had lost Murphy to a hamstring injury, replaced by another U19 player in Darragh Crowley, but they continued to press and had 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.
With the numerical advantage, City were able to dictate the game for much of the second half, moving the ball well but not creating a plethora of chances. Twice, Cummins with close with headers, supplied by crosses from Crowley and Morrissey respectively. Pat's, forced to chase the ball, were able to create little, their only opportunity of the third quarter coming when Gary Shaw headed straight at Mark McNulty soon after the restart.
As the second half wore on, the home side continued to have the monopoly on chances. Comerford sent another effort from distance straight at Clarke after the keeper had punched a cross away, 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), Morrisey; Murphy (Crowley 26), Cummins.
ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Clarke; Webster, Toner, Desmond; Madden, McCabe, Lennon (Doona 84), Clifford, Bermingham (Kelly half-time)); Markey (D Clarke 73); Shaw.
Referee: S Grant (Wexford).