John Caulfield admits "nerves" may have got to Cork City during last night's defeat to Dundalk

The Cork City boss was speaking to Oisin Langan after the game

BY Cian Roche 09:41 Wednesday 12 October 2016, 9:41 12 Oct 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne 

Cork City boss John Caulfield admits that his players may have suffered from "nerves" during last night's defeat to Dundalk at Oriel Park which may have affected their performance.

The Leesiders were beaten 2-1 by Stephen Kenny's men in what could prove to be a crunch fixture in the race for the Premier Division title.

Cork now trail Dundalk by four points with five games remaining. Dundalk still have potentially tricky games away to Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic, but the advantage is very much in their favour.

Speaking after last night's game in Louth, Caulfield said that his side needed to show more composure in the opening 45 mintues of the game.

"We were very disappointed with our first half performance," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan. "We felt the freekick was soft, the McEleney dive. But at the same time, Daryl [Horgan] finished brilliantly and it gave them momentum. They were on the front foot. 

"It was difficult for us and then they got a cracking second goal. In a game like this, these things happen and it gives them a lift and gives them a lot of energy. At half-time we decided to change it a bit and Mark [O'Sullivan] came on and scored. It was 2-1 and we were in the game but they managed it well in the last 20 minutes. 

"Normally we defend very well and sometimes in a game like this that shows the composure. Maybe we're one down and guys start chasing a game too early. We were a bit open in that period of time when there was no need to be."

Daryl Horgan scored both goals last night, with the pick of his strikes coming in the second half when he carried the ball from inside his own half and skipped by a challenge from Greg Bolger and continued toward goal before releasing a rasping shot into the roof of the net which proved to be the winning goal.

"To be fair to him, it was a cracking shot and he still scored from 25 yards so you give him his dues for a great goal. It was frustrating but it we've no choice but to move on to Friday night and see if we can keep the pressure on. 

"They're a very experienced team and know when to kill the game. We're not far off but it is frustrating because we thought we could win the game tonight."

Asked whether or not the uncharacteristic performance was a result of big-game nerves, he said: "Yeah maybe so, that's your learning experience. You prepare well all week and there was some momentum coming with us.

"But you know, with the big crowd and they got the early goal, they had the experience that we hadn't and sometimes that knocks players.

"I keep saying there's no hiding places in these matches so you can prepare all you want but when the guys cross that line, you have to stand up and do it."

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