League Report: Waterford 1 - 3 Shamrock Rovers

Fri, Nov 05 2021
Danny Mandroiu with four goals in his last two games for the Hoops

Danny Mandroiu with four goals in his last two games for the Hoops Credit: Muller Santos (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from the RSC

Shamrock Rovers scored two second half headed goals within five minutes of each other along with an injury time goal to come from behind to win 3-1 against Waterford in the RSC and leave the Blues with real relegation concerns as they drop into the play-off position after this defeat.

John Martin had given the Blues an early first half lead before Danny Mandroiu on 70 minutes and Sean Hoare soon after both headed home two Dylan Watts centres. Watts made it a hattrick of assists when he played in Mandroiu in injury time to score his 14th of the league campaign.

Waterford had welcomed the Hoops onto the pitch with a guard of honour in recognition of Rovers securing their 19th league title last week.

The Hoops have produced a certain amount of fireworks on the pitch throughout the season as they won back-to-back title wins but some of their supporters sadly deployed fireworks of their own after 15 minutes. 

They sailed out over the RSC pitch detonating in the away section and just above the heads of both sets of players with some ducking for cover.

Referee Rob Hennessy stopped the game quickly and then took the players off the pitch for an eight minute stoppage.

The Blues carried a one goal lead into the unscheduled break after they exploited a mix up at the back by Rovers between Lee Grace and Leon Pohls who was making his first league appearance for Rovers.

Hoops Head Coach Stephen Bradley had ended Alan Mannus’ run of 98 consecutive league appearances for the Hoops – the last time Mannus hadn’t played a league game for the Hoops was Gavin Bazunu’s last appearance for the Hoops in July 2018.

The Waterford goal had come on 12 minutes when Grace tried to control a Jack Stafford cross in front of Pohls and Martin was on hand to stick a boot out to send the ball into the back of the net.

Aaron Greene had missed with a close range shot two minutes previously although he was deemed to be offside from Sean Gannon’s cross and it was Rovers that had most of the chances after the game resumed.

The Hoops had a handful of free kicks and corners that Watts swung into the Blues box in that first half but Marc Bircham’s boys stood firm to clear with the heads and block with their bodies when the ball came back in. 

The home side seemed happy to defend in numbers and look to exploit the speed of Phoenix Patterson down the left with Greg Halford’s long throw also a potent weapon for Waterford.

After the break Isaac Tshipamba stung the gloves of Pohls as the Blues sought their second goal but that was his last contribution as Bircham brought on Junior just 11 minutes into the second period.

Just after the hour mark Graham Burke did whip a decent free kick around the Blues wall that Murphy needed to be wary of as it bounced just in front of him. 

Stephen Bradley didn’t have too many options on his bench having only named six subs including three 17-year-old players all who had yet to get any game time with the first team.

He brought on 20-year-old Max Murphy in place of Lee Grace with Sean Gannon moving into the back three as they continued to press against the resolute home defence.

The pressure finally told on 70 minutes as Mandroiu scored with a diving header getting on the end of yet another Watts corner.

Waterford conceded their second goal in five minutes as Watts whipped in a free kick that Hoare rose highest to meet and head home. 

The win was wrapped up when Mandroiu ran clear to shoot home in injury time off a Watts through ball and move the champions 15 points clear of second placed St. Patrick’s Athletic. 

With Finn Harps drawing 1-1 at home with Derry City, Waterford drop into the playoff position on goal difference behind Harps with two games remaining – away to Longford and home to St. Pat’s on the last day of the season.

Waterford: Brian Murphy; Cameron Evans, Greg Halford, Eddie Nolan, Jack Stafford; John Martin, Niall O'Keeffe (c), Phoenix Patterson, Shane Griffin (Darragh Power 75), Anthony Wordsworth, Isaac Tshipamba (Junior Quitirna 57),
Subs not used: Paul Martin, Kyle Ferguson, Jeremie Milambo, George Forrest, Ronaldo Romario Green, Callum Stringer, Jamal Dupree. 
Booked: Darragh Power (90+3), John Martin (90 +5)


Shamrock Rovers: Leon Pohls; Sean Hoare, Roberto Lopes (c), Lee Grace (Max Murphy 61); Sean Gannon, Gary O'Neill, Dylan Watts, Neil Farrugia (Kieran Cruise 89); Daniel Mandroiu, Aaron Greene, Graham Burke (Zayd Abada 86).
Subs not used: Alan Mannus, Joey O'Brien, Carl Lennox. 
Booked: None. 

Referee: Rob Hennessy
Attendance: 2,804
extratime.com Player of the Match: Dylan Watts (Shamrock Rovers)

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