Late Gaynor equaliser denies Rovers the points
by David Goulden at the Showgrounds
A last gasp Ross Gaynor equaliser stole a late point for Cork City at the Showgrounds as they drew 1-1 with Sligo Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division in what was a less than exciting encounter in inclement conditions.
Debutant Steven Beattie had scored what looked like the winner for the home side as he bundled the ball across the line with seven minutes to play. But former Rovers winger Gaynor returned to haunt his former club in the sixth minute of added time at the end of the game to claim a point for last year's league runners-up.
Following a low key opening half at a wind-swept Showgrounds in which both goalkeepers were mere by-standers for the majority, the game was 19 minutes old before either side produced a chance of note. Karl Sheppard's glancing header landed onto the top of Richard Brush's net from a Colin Healy free-kick from the right following a Gavin Peers handball.
City net minder Mark McNulty comfortably dealt with David Cawley's free from distance on 24 as both sides slowly settled. Referee Rob Rogers turned down claims for a Cork penalty minutes later. Stephen Folan inadvertently taking the feet from under Sheppard as the striker ran past him in attempt to retrieve what looked like a lost cause inside the Sligo box. But City's claims fell on deaf ears.
Folan ventured forward towards the Leesider's goal ten minutes from the break but his miss-hit shot from 20 yards rolled harmlessly wide.
Sander Puri was unable to get a telling touch to Steven Beattie's curling cross on 43 as the pace of the ball beat the Estonian international to the back post.
City almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Healy brought the ball past John Russell before his drilled cross was fired towards goal at the second attempt by John Dunleavy. The Cork skipper unfortunate to see his effort cannon back off the top of the Rovers post.
The Setanta Cup holders lost goalkeeper Brush to a shoulder injury early in the second half when he collided with Peers outside his area as he came to clear a ball lofted forward by Dan Murray. Substitute goalkeeper Ryan Coulter replaced the Birmingham native for his competitive debut.
Gavan Holohan's snap shot failed to test the Wicklow native as his dragged effort whistled past Coulter's goal on 61 as the rain continued to make things difficult for both sides.
Owen Heary introduced local winger Kevin Devaney as he made his return to the Showgrounds following two years at Dalymount Park. The Sligo boss looked to add some purpose to what was until then, a limp Bit O'Red attack. The former Bohs supremo was however knocked back once more on 73 when he was forced to withdraw Morten Nielsen through injury.
Things eventually went Heary's way and the game finally came to life with 83 minutes played. John Russell's corner ping-ponged around the Cork box and panic ensued amongst the City rearguard. Beattie got just enough power behind his shot from close-range as he turned the ball goalward and somehow forced his effort beyond McNulty and into the net.
Beattie latched on to David Cawley's threaded ball a minute from full-time but he could only shoot wide and into MucNulty's side netting.
John Caulfield added former Sligo wingers Gaynor and Kieran Djilali to the mix late on as City attempted to salvage a point. And the move paid off six minutes into injury time. Alan Keane failed to track the Louth man as his initial shot was pushed away by Coulter. A series of City attempts were bravely blocked down by the Sligo defence, but they could do little about Gaynor's effort which breezed into the net with Coulter stranded.
Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush (for Ryan Coulter 55) Alan Keane, Gavin Peers, Stephen Folan, Danny Ledwith; Steven Beattie, David Cawley, John Russell. Sander Puri (for Kevin Devaney 66); Morten Nielsen (for Keith Ward 73), Dinny Corcoran.
Subs not used: Gary Boylan, Jake Dykes, Ryan McManus, Gary Armstrong.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Alan Bennett, John Dunleavy (for Kieran Djilali, 90+3) Dan Murray, Darren Dennehy; Garry Buckley (for Ross Gaynor 88). Liam Miller, Gavan Holohan (for Danny Morrisey 79), Colin Healy, Mark O'Sullivan; Karl Sheppard.
Subs not used: John Kavanagh, Kevin O'Brien, Josh O'Shea, Liam Kearney.
Referee: Robert Rogers (Dublin).