FAI Cup Report: Cork City 2-1 Wexford
Philip Morrissey reports from Turner’s Cross
Two-late goals from Cork City proved to be the difference as Wexford were downed in the FAI Cup quarter-finals at Turner’s Cross.
Trailing just before the break to a bizarre concession, City rallied to edge past the First Division side.
But it was cruel for the Slaneysiders.
They did enough to take the lead at half-time and were resolute throughout but were unable to withstand the late pressure.
Liam Buckley made just one change from Cork City’s side who beat Sligo two weeks ago as Ally Gilchrist came into the centre of defence to partner Cian Coleman.
Andreii Kravchuk returned after a recent suspension to play in midfield after Kevin Custovic was ruled out.
The visitors had lined out in a nominal 4-4-2 but with Ethan Boyle in a deep-lying role and Luka Lovic playing off Aaron Dobbs, it was more of a 5-4-1.
Darragh Levingston had the first shot on target, but it was straight at Ollie Byrne.
City then had a double opportunity at the other end. Keating knocked a long ball down into the path of Kravchuk. He saw his effort blocked but Cork were able to recycle it.
It was clipped back into the penalty area to Keating. He saw his header saved by Owen Mason. Jaze Kabia was unlucky moments later. He picked up the ball and bore down on goal.
Using the defender as a shield, he curled his effort towards the bottom corner. It went just past the post. He was then off target with a header.
Wexford almost took the lead via the impressive Levingston. He picked it up just outside the area and unleashed a fierce drive that took a deflection off Ally Gilchrist.
Ollie Byrne was alive to the danger and tipped it past the post.
The home side suffered a blow when Gilchrist was forced off the field with an injury. It got worse as Wexford took the lead almost immediately.
The throw-in, after the ball had been kicked out to allow attention, seemed to have been moved up further towards the City end.
From the throw-in, Aaron Bolger got in the line of Byrne allowing Aaron Dobbs to sneak in and round the keeper before tapping into an empty net.
City tried to get back into the game and had chances early on. Keating saw his low shot pushed away by Mason and then he almost took advantage of a slip by the keeper from a Cian Bargary cross.
Wexford were able to just hack it away. Almost everyone in a purple shirt were now in their own half other than Dobbs to try and hold out.
Wexford had few opportunities in the opposition half but almost landed a second via a speculative shot.
Kravchuk had an effort that lacked the power to beat Mason before Ben Worman and Keating were unable to combine properly as the ball bounced around the penalty area.
It was up to substitute Malik Dijksteel to show them how to do it. He had shown impressive pace after coming in and he drove at the heart of the defence.
He feigned to shoot before unleashing a drive that Mason had no chance with.
City piled on the pressure in the closing stages as the game looked to be heading to extra time. City won a corner that Worman swung over from the left. Keating was in the right place to nod home the winner.
Delight for the home fans on the final whistle as Wexford slumped to their knees. Cork will now await to see who they are paired with in Tuesday’s draw.
It is back to league business net Friday for both clubs. City will try to build on this as they travel away to Shelbourne.
Wexford will return to concentrate on their play-off ambitions as they play at home to Bray.
Cork City: Oliver Byrne; Joshua Honohan, Cian Coleman, Alexander Gilchrist (Jonas Häkkinen 46), Conor Drinan, Ben Worman, Aaron Bolger, Andrii Kravchuk, Cian Bargary,; Jaze Kabia (Malik Dijksteel 46), Ruairí Keating.
Subs not used: Jimmy Corcoran, Gordon Walker, John O'Donovan, Joseph O'Brien-Whitmarsh, Oran Crowe, Cian Murphy, Babatunde Owolabi.
Booked: Joshua Honohan (73).
Wexford: Owen Mason; Luke Browne, Cian O'Malley, Reece Webb, Benjamin Lynch, Ethan Boyle, Kian Corbally, Corban Piper, Darragh Levingston, Luka Lovic (Thomas Oluwa 62), Aaron Dobbs.
Subs not used: Noel Heffernan, James Crawford, Mark Hanratty, Aaron Robinson, Eoin Kenny, Conor Levingston, Karl Chambers, Danny Furlong.
Booked: Kian Corbally (37), Luke Browne (68).
Referee: Damien McGrath
extratime.com Player of the Match: Malik Dijksteel (Cork City).