League Report: Bohemians 0 - 2 Waterford

Sat, Sep 12 2020

Ali Coote (peroxide) celebrates scoring the opening goal as John Sheridan's tenure ended with a 2-0 win in Dublin. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Dave Donnelly reports from Dalymount Park

John Sheridan’s short but eventful spell as Waterford manager drew to a close at Dalymount Park on Friday night as the Blues moved up to fourth with a 2-0 win over Bohemians.

The Salford man was announced at full time as the new bearer of the poisoned chalice of managing Wigan Athletic after the Latics agreed terms with Waterford for his release.

This farewell performance typified the Sheridan era, which lasted just two months and eight games: the Blues were compact and happy to cede possession, but clinical once they had the ball.

They’d barely ventured into the Bohemians half when Ali Cootes’ deflected shot opened the scoring midway through the first half.

Tyreke Wilson added the second with a sublime free kick on the stroke of half time and, from there, Waterford never looked likely to come away with anything less than three points.

Sheridan as a player, though gifted with rare technique and vision, was moulded by pragmatic managers like Jack Charlton and Howard Wilkinson. His side displayed many similar qualities.

In Wilson and Tunmise Sobowale they have two of the most exciting full backs in the league, while Scottish midfielder Coote adds the x-factor alongside the steel of Robbie Weir and John Martin.

The midfield trio were busy in the opening quarter as they struggled to rein in a Bohemians side clearly smarting from last week’s Dublin Derby defeat away to Shamrock Rovers.

Manager Keith Long recalled the mercurial Danny Mandroiu in place of Keith Ward and the Ireland under-21 playmaker made a nuisance of himself from the off.

He flashed a low shot centimetres wide of Brian Murphy’s post with just 90 seconds on the clock, after Andre Wright had already missed the target with an early header.

A succession of free kicks – two conceded by Wilson, who was lucky to escape a caution for twice hacking down Kris Twardek – led to nervy moments in the Blues defence, but they held firm.

Mandroiu was in his element and a gorgeous through-ball played Danny Grant in one-on-one with Murphy, only for an offside flag to be incorrectly raised.

The momentum quickly reversed in the game and Waterford would have their first chance, through Coote, moments later. He blasted over the bar.

Wilson would at least force a save from the next phase of play, beating Twardek to a loose ball and driving into the box, Stephen McGuinness parrying before Kurtis Byrne volleyed the loose ball wide.

Coote would make no mistake a moment later and again Wilson’s aggression created the chance, the ex-Man City full-back darting forward from his own half and passing inside for Coote.

The Scot set himself and drove a low shot from 25 yards that took an unfortunate deflection off Dan Casey and skidded past McGuinness, who should have saved, and into the net.

Waterford, who had been outplayed for the majority of the game to that point, suddenly found their feet and pushed forward in search of a second.

Martin had McGuinness beaten once more just past the half-hour with a finely-struck shot from 25 yards, only for the crossbar to come to Bohs’ rescue.

There would be no such luck in first half injury time as Bohs were again guilty of overplaying, Casey having his pocket picked by Michael O’Connor before hauling him down.

Wilson and Byrne stood over the free kick 25 yards out and it was the left-footer who took responsibility, curling the ball beautifully into the bottom corner.

The Blues stuck to the gameplan in the second half and, though Bohs continued to dominate the ball, the best chance still fell Waterford’s way.

Martin struck the woodwork for the second time as he nodded Wilson’s free kick onto the post at the back post.

And Wilson himself was also denied by the slimmest of margins as he lined up another free kick, even further out, only to see his shot strike the base of the post.

Long introduced Glen McAuley, Promise Omochere and Keith Ward in the final quarter in a bid to find a way through the Blues defence but to no avail.

The result means Bohs remain five points behind Shamrock Rovers, who could take a further step towards the title with victory in Cork tomorrow, with Waterford four points further back.

Sheridan, who repeated his denial that he had ever called the league a ‘pub league’ said goodbye to some of his Dublin-based players at the final whistle, leaving them fourth in the table.

Bohemians: Stephen McGuinness; Andy Lyons, James Finnerty, Dan Casey, Anto Breslin; Keith Buckley, JJ Lunney (Conor Levingston 50), Danny Mandroiu (Promise Omochere 77); Danny Grant (Keith Ward 77), Kris Twardek, Andre Wright (Glen McAuley 71).

Subs not used: James Talbot (gk), Ciaran Kelly, Dawson Devoy.

Booked: Kris Twardek (30), Danny Mandroiu (42).

Waterford: Brian Murphy; Oluwatunmise Sobowakle, Jake Davidson, Robbie McCourt, Tyreke Wilson; Alistair Coote, Robert Weir, John Martin (Niall O’Keeffe 83); Michael O’Connor (Dean Walsh 70), Matthew Smith, Kurtis Byrne.

Subs not used: Tadhg Ryan (gk), Paul Martin (gk), Darragh Power, Alex Phelan, Will Fitzgerald.

Booked: Ali Coote (47), John Martin (63),

Referee: Damien McGraith.