After three consecutive defeats, Cork City secured their first win of the new SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season as they defeated Finn Harps 1-0 at Turner's Cross.
Alec Byrne’s second half header was enough to earn City the three points although Harps will feel aggrieved as they controversially had a goal disallowed on the stroke of half time.
Ollie Horgan made two changes to his side that held Derry City to a 1-1 draw at the Brandywell last time out with Leo Donnellan and Tony McNamee dropping to the bench and they were replaced by Ruairi Harkin and Alex Kogler, who was making his debut.
After a quiet opening to the match, Harps had the first shot on goal in the 12th minute but Harkin curled the ball narrowly wide of the far top right corner from distance.
Neale Fenn made one alteration to his starting eleven that was beaten 3-0 by Dundalk at Oriel Park on Monday night with Deshane Dalling returning from suspension to take the place of Beineon O'Brien-Whitmarsh and they went close to snatching the lead moments later.
Daire O’Connor’s surging run down the right hand side saw him skip past a couple of challenges but after pulling the ball back into a dangerous area, striker Dylan McGlade hammered it over the bar.
Harps remained confident having taken four points from their first two games of the season so far and they looked the more threatening of the two sides.
Harkin again tried his luck from distance on 17 but his free sailed harmlessly wide of the bottom left corner before they created their best chance of the half just shy of the half an hour mark.
Former Cork City winger Barry McNamee found space in his more familiar attacking midfield role and his sublime through ball sent Karl O’Sullivan clear on goal.
But after composing himself, the attacker’s shot across the face of goal was denied by the feet of Liam Bossin before it could find his far bottom left corner.
With the first half drawing to a close, McGlade saw a long range free saved with ease by keeper Mark McGinley for Cork’s first shot on target at home this campaign.
Then came the controversial moment. The visitors thought they had finally ended to stalemate when Alex Kogler fired the ball into the back of the Shed End net after Liam Bossin spilled Ruairi Harkin’s free kick.
The referee initially signalled for the goal but minutes later, after consulting with his linesman, the decision was reversed and City were awarded a free out.
Kogler had caught Bossin as he lunged for the ball and after staying down for eight minutes, the City shot stopper was stretchered off and later sent to Cork University Hospital with a suspected concussion.
The Leesiders started the second period on the front foot and the lively Deshane Dalling twice went close to scoring after the restart.
The winger first sent an attempt drifting just past the far post before he then had a low drive saved by Mark McGinley at his near upright.
City’s quick tempo was awarded in the 55th minute as they scored their first goal of the season when Alec Byrne sent his bullet header past the keeper from a couple of yards after being picked out by McGlade’s in swinging corner.
They thought they had doubled their lead minutes later when Daire O’Connor rolled the ball across the line after Dalling’s shot came back off the inside of the left post but their joy was short lived as he was in an offside position.
The Donegal club finished well as they looked to snatch a share of the spoils and avoid a first loss in the division.
Ronan Hurley needed to be alert to clear Kogler’s goal-bound effort off his line before their best chance came late on but David Webster drilled wide of the target as City hung on to the crucial win.
Cork City: Liam Bossin (Mark McNulty 45+8); Kyron Stabana (Charlie Fleming ht), Joseph Olowu, Joe Redmond, Ronan Hurley; Henry Ochieng, Gearoid Morrissey, Alec Byrne; Daire O'Connor, Dylan McGlade (Cian Murphy 88), Deshane Dalling.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Shane McEleney, Kosovar Sadiki, Sam Todd; David Webster, Barry McNamee, Ruairi Harkin (Adrian Delap 91), Ryan Connolly, Mark Russell; Karl O’Sullivan (Cameron Saul 72), Alex Kogler (Raffaele Cretaro 72).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).