Macdara Ferris reports from the RSC
Friday night’s 3-0 win for Waterford over St. Patrick’s Athletic at the RSC moved the Blues level on points with Dundalk who are third in the Premier Division table. First half goals across a four minute period from Ali Coote and John Martin and a Michael O’Connor goal ten minutes from time earned John Sheridan’s side all three points on a very disappointing night for the Saints.
Having officially signed striker Daryl Murphy during the week, it was a shame that a calf injury kept Murphy out. However, his team grabbed themselves two goals in the first half without the former Ireland international striker in their side before O’Connor got his goal late on.
The Blues led 2-0 at the break having converted the chances that came their way while the visitors were wasteful with a number of headers that they had in the box.
The first Pat’s effort towards goal came on ten minutes when Billy King, who caused Tyreke Wilson plenty of difficulty, swung it in for Jordan Gibson but he couldn’t direct his header on goal. It was a similar story ten minutes later with this time Georgie Kelly being wasteful with his headed chance.
Having been generous with their wasteful efforts at goal at one end, Pat’s then gifted the home team the lead at the other end. Robert Weir dropped deep to pick up the ball from the Blues defence and sent a ball over the top that either Shane Griffin or Lee Desmond should have cleared the ball when facing their own 'keeper. However neither did, allowing Ali Coote to nip in ahead of them and Brendan Clarke to tap the ball home on 24 minutes.
Within 60 seconds the Saints should have equalised but Luke McNally with pretty much a free header sent it over the bar after a great delivery from a Robbie Benson corner kick.
The visitors really regretted those misses when they found themselves 2-0 down just before the half hour mark. John Martin was on hand to sweep the ball home from inside the six yard box after O'Connor headed Wilson's deep corner back towards goal.
Pat’s had a couple more opportunities before the break with first a Benson shot and then a Kelly effort that Jake Davidson did well to block and send behind for a corner. There was one final chance in the half when Brian Murphy did well to stretch up while backpeddling to prevent a Davidson backwards header drifting over his head.
It was Alan Mathews who tried to lift the Saints in the second half shouting from the dugout as Stephen O’Donnell was serving a one-match suspension and was banned from the dressing room and technical area.
Early second half chances came Waterford’s way down the left. A Shane Griffin free kick – coming after Jamie Lennon pulled down Wilson – was headed over his own bar. Then Matty Smith’s cross had to be pushed out to safety by Clarke.
The Blues defended well in the second half and looked to break when they could knowing a third goal would completely end this game as a contest. And that is how it turned out as substitute Dean Walsh sent Smith free on the left and his low cross was converted by O’Connor to wrap up the Waterford win. He had got the winner in Richmond Park when the sides played on the opening night of the season. This 3-0 win was Waterford’s fourth win over St. Pat’s in the last five league games.
It is worrying times for the Saints who drop down into eighth in the table with eight games remaining in this shortened season.
Waterford: Brian Murphy ©; Olawutunmise Sobowale, Jake Davidson, Robbie McCourt, Tyreke Wilson; Ali Coote, Shane Griffin (Niall O'Keeffe 88), Robbie Weir, John Martin (Dean Walsh 67), Matty Smith; Michael O'Connor (Kurtis Byrne 85).
Subs not used: Paul Martin (gk), William Longbottom, Reece Murphy, Will Fitzgerald.
Booked: Matty Smith (34), Robbie Weir (58), Shane Griffin (71).
St. Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Luke McNally, Lee Desmond, Shane Griffin; Rory Feely (Martin Rennie 86), Dan Ward (Jason McClelland 61), Jamie Lennon; Robbie Benson © (Darragh Markey 85), Jordan Gibson, Billy King (James Doona 75); Georgie Kelly.
Subs not used: Conor Kearns (gk), Ian Bermingham, David Titov.
Booked: Georgie Kelly (78).
Referee: Paul McLaughlin
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Matty Smith (Waterford)