League Report: Cork City 0 - 0 Shamrock Rovers

Fri, Jul 06 2018

16-year-old Gavin Bazunu at full-stretch to deny Kieran Sadlier from the spot for the first time this season. Credit: Steve Alfred

Stephen Walsh reports from Turner's Cross

Gavin Bazunu was the hero for Shamrock Rovers tonight in Turner's Cross in front of a crowd of 3,749 as his penalty save ensured the points would be shared. The Rovers goalkeeper has yet to concede a league goal this season.

The opening half was a tight affair with Cork City having the chances but unable to find the back of the net.

The second half was mainly City's, with their best chance coming on the hour with Bazunu pushing out a Kieran Sadlier penalty for a corner.

The result allows Dundalk stretch their lead at the top to four points following a 3-1 victory over St Patrick’s Athletic.

City made three changes to the side that lost its spot at the top of the table to Dundalk 2-1 last Friday night with Conor McCarthy, Karl Sheppard and Garry Buckley coming in.

Rovers beat Derry City last weekend and they made two changes with Greg Bolger and Ethan Boyle starting in place of David McAllister and Joel Coustrain.

The opening minutes of the game were tight and edgy with little in the way of attacking opportunities as the home side enjoyed the majority of the possession and Rovers tight and compact at the back.

Shane Griffin had an appeal for a penalty on 10 minutes when bundled over by a few Rovers defenders but play was waved on.

Bazunu was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first 45 minutes, making a number of good saves.

Gearóid Morrissey had a shot go wide on 13 minutes with City continuing to attack for the next ten minutes as Rovers striker Dan Carr saw little of the ball.

Sadlier was trying his best to set chances up for City, creating a chance for Buckley that the midfielder fired wide following build up from Graham Cummins on 23 minutes.

Five minutes later, Sadlier had a free kick tipped over the bar by Bazunu for a corner. Moments later a cross into the box was headed goalbound by Cummins from 12 yards only for Bazunu to save well.

Bolger had the sole chance for Rovers in the first half after 37 minutes when his shot went over the bar.

Just before the break, Buckley required treatment following a clash of heads resulting in the attacking midfielder sporting a bandage around the head for the remainder of the game.

The home side continued in much the same vein as the opening half, dominating the possession stats but creating a few chances, with Cummins firing over following a Buckley through ball.

City were given a great chance to take the lead on the hour mark when Sheppard was bundled over in the box by Joey O’Brien when trying to get on the end of Shane Griffin’s long ball.

Sadlier, who was five from five from the spot this season, was unable to score a sixth when his firmly-hit show low to the 16-year-old Bazunu's right was pushed around the post for a corner.

Bazunu again came to the rescue for Rovers on 67 minutes when pushing a Sheppard header of the post following a McCarthy cross.

As the game progressed City grew more desperate in the hope of getting a match winner but they could find no way past Bazunu who caught everything City hit into the box.

On 88 minutes, McNulty went over on his ankle when clearing in a ball resulting in first City league appearance for Peter Cherrie.

Joel Coustrain had a late shot saved by Cherrie and, though City continued to press, they couldn’t score.

They now go four points behind Dundalk with their European odyssey beginning on Tuesday night at home to Legia Warsaw.

Cork City: Mark McNulty (Peter Cherrie 88); Conor McCarthy (Steven Beattie 71), Alan Bennett, Sean McLoughlin, Shane Griffin; Gearóid Morrissey, Conor McCormack; Karl Sheppard, Garry Buckley, Kieran Sadlier; Graham Cummins (Josh O’Hanlon 64).

Subs not used: Danny Kane, Jimmy Keohane, Damien Delaney, Barry McNamee.

Booked: None.

Shamrock Rovers: Gavin Bazunu; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Joey O’Brien, Roberto Lopes, Sean Kavanagh; Sam Bone, Greg Bolger; Ronan Finn, Brandon Kavanagh (Joel Coustrain 55); Dan Carr.

Subs not used: Alan Mannus (gk), Luke Byrne, Brandon Miele, Gary Shaw, David McAllister, Aaron Bolger.

Booked: Sam Bone (25), Greg Bolger (90+1)

Referee: Robert Hennessy.

Attendance: 3,749 (official).

Extratime.ie Player of the match: Gavin Bazunu (Shamrock Rovers).