Dylan O'Connell reports from the RSC.
An early breakaway goal from Prince Mutswunguma was enough for Waterford FC to see off Longford Town at the RSC on Saturday evening.
The three points move Kevin Sheedy’s side out of the bottom three and give them their second league win of the 2021 Premier Division season.
Longford on the other hand, will rue their missed chances as they failed to capitalise on Kyle Ferguson’s red card at the start of the season half.
From the opening whistle De Town dominated the possession and controlled the game. This was a passing game birthed from their back four, with Joe Gorman playing the ball out to the side’s mobile midfield.
A high pressing Mutswunguma caught the defender out after eight minutes, muscled through and stole possession. The striker then charged toward and slotted passed a stranded Michael Kelly, who could only watch as the ball trickled in.
Darragh Power and Rob Manley combined minutes later and could have made it 1-1. The defender played the forward through and just as Manley was about to pull the tigger, Paul Martin dashed out of his goal and cleared the ball from danger.
A succession of chances for Longford followed and none hit the back of net. An in-swinging corner from Aodh Dervin skidded off of Manley’s head and went wide. It was a similar situation when Cameron Evans beat Aaron O’Dirscoll at the end of a free kick. The Waterford defender put the ball behind for a corner, which then came to nothing for Longford.
The final moments of the first half gifted two opportunities Waterford to double their lead. The first saw Tunmise Sobowale and Mutswunguma break two on one. Only Gorman stood between the Waterford duo and he stood firm, which allowed the defender to block the passing lanes and win back possession. Seconds later John Martin squared the ball to Mutswunguma who was facing goal. The striker fired first time and the ball curled centimetres wide.
An elbow from Ferguson led to referee Neil Doyle producing a red card fifteen minutes into the second half. A free-kick was given to Longford, and out of this, Gorman found the net, but was flagged offside.
Slowly Longford poured themselves into the opposition half. Gorman had a header saved on the line by Kelly. Dylan Grimes plagued Waterford out wide, but at the end of each cross was a blue jersey.
Josh Collins rescued Watford with a dashing clearance on the line following a venomous shot by Conor Davis.
The five minutes added time saw Longford pour themselves into the Waterford half, desperate for the equalising goal. Sobowale was defiant at this stage of the game, as he stood firm to break down the Longford play and break.
Waterford FC: Paul Martin, Darragh Power, Cameron Evans, Kyle Ferguson, Adam O’Rielly, James Waite (Katlego Mashigo 65), John Martin, Niall O’Keeffe, James Mascoll, Tunmise Sobowale, Prince Mutswunguma (Josh Collins 69).
Booked: Prince Mutswunguma (22), Paul Martin (70), Katlego Mashigo (75).
Sent off: Kyle Ferguson (59)
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Shane Griffin, Jack Stafford, Sam Morrissey, Callum Stringer, Ivan Homoki, Kyle Cooke.
Longford Town: Michael Kelly, Shane Elworthy (Callum Thompson 56), Paddy Kirk, Aaron Robinson, Dylan Grimes, Rob Manley (Aaron Dons 56), Aaron O’Driscoll (Sam Verdon 74), Aaron Bolger (Conor Davis 65), Aodh Dervin, Karl Chambers, Joe Gorman.
Subs not used: Lee Stacey, Mick McDonnell, Matthew O’Brien, Dean Byrne, Joe Manley.
Booked: Joe Gorman (53)
Referee: Neil Doyle
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Prince Mutswunguma (Waterford FC)