David Wilson reports from the RSC
Dundalk cruised to a 3-0 win in a cold and grey south-east as they put Kevin Sheedy’s Waterford side to the sword at the RSC.
A header from Andy Boyle, a Chris Shields penalty and a wonderful curling strike from Michael Duffy ensured Jim Magilton’s side came away from Waterford with all three points.
A dominant opening half display from Dundalk ensured the Lilywhites built on last week’s win against Drogheda United.
The opening minutes were helter-skelter, Dundalk looking to spring in behind using the pace of Duffy and intelligent movement from David McMillan.
Dundalk were looking to put their stamp on the game early, their full-backs Raivis Jurkovskis and Cameron Dummigan constantly raiding forward as Shields and Wilfried Zahibo provided the team with a platform in midfield.
Duffy sprung the offside trap from a Daniel Cleary pass, controlled well before goalkeeper Paul Martin smothered him. McMillan on the follow up could not muster up a serious effort after eight minutes.
At the other end John Martin went tumbling in the box but referee Derek Tomney waved away Blues protests.
In the 14th minute Dummigan was played in by the mercurial Patrick McEleney but the Northern Irish international’s cross was blocked. There were vociferous Dundalk protests for a penalty for handball, again not given.
Dundalk continued to be far superior to a depleted Blues side who could only name substitutes on the bench while Dundalk had nine to choose from. In the 25th minute the visitors got themselves deservedly ahead.
Shields was fouled by James Waite out on the Dundalk right, Duffy delivered the most delicious of free kicks and Ireland international centre-half Boyle powered a header downward into the far corner.
Waterford struggled to keep any possession for any meaningful periods of time. Their best way of creating anything was to win the ball high up the pitch.
Ten minutes after going behind, Waterford managed to win possession in the Dundalk half of the pitch. John Martin found himself down the right channel before squaring the ball to the on-rushing Adam O’Reilly, but the Cork man could not divert home from six yards when he really should have.
Just three minutes before halftime Dundalk finally had their penalty. Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, who came on for the injured McMillan, was adjudged to have been fouled by Prince Mutswunguma and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
It looked harsh on the replay, but skipper Shields stepped up and tucked the penalty low to the ‘keepers left leaving Dundalk in complete control.
Right after the resumption of the second half, the magisterial Duffy put the game beyond doubt.
Less than 30 seconds into the half, Shields found Junior with a long ball. The Londoner controlled well before bringing the impressive Ole Erik Midtskogen into play, he then found Duffy on the left who cut inside and curled a wonderful effort Thierry Henry-esque into the far corner from 20 yards. A quite magnificent goal.
Just five minutes later, the Derry winger should have had his second. He pulled the Waterford defence asunder with his movement, played a one-two with McEleney and found himself clear through on goal before smashing a left-footed effort straight at Paul Martin who saved well.
Waterford should have had at least one back, the never-ending running of John Martin should have been rewarded after being played through by James Waite, but Martin somehow hit the butt of the post with the goal at his mercy in the 54th minute.
The Blues managed to sustain more attacks after going three behind, however the away side continued to be a threat on the counter especially through Duffy.
In the 66th minute the Blues could not believe they had not scored as John Martin directed a Tunmise Sobowale cutback onto the bar from three yards, midfielder Katlego Mashigo could not manage to direct the rebound goalward.
As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, Dundalk reaffirmed their superiority. Just before the 75th minute Shields found Duffy who flicked the ball to McEleney, he then found Junior with a great pass in behind, but the striker could only find the near post under pressure from Cameron Evans.
With just under ten minutes remaining Dummigan was forced off after a heavy challenge from Waterford right back Darragh Power, he will now be a major doubt for Monday.
Dundalk make another trip on Monday away to Longford Town who suffered a defeat to St. Pats, while Waterford make the trip to Tallaght to take on champions Shamrock Rovers. Will Kevin Sheedy and Mike Newell be around for that game? Who knows?
Waterford: Paul Martin; Darragh Power, Cameron Evans, Tunmise Sobowale (c) Jamie Mascoll; James Waite, Niall O’Keefe, Adam O’Reilly, Katlego Mashigo, Prince Mutswunguma; John Martin
Subs not used: Kyle Cook (gk), Josh Collins, Jack Stafford
Booked: Cameron Evans (69), James Waite (88)
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Raivis Jurkovskis; Chris Shields (c), Wilfried Zahibo (Greg Sloggett 72); Ole Erik Midtskogen (Sean Murray 65), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; David McMillan (Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 32)
Subs not used: Alessio Abibi (GK), Enda Douglas, Val Adedokun, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Jesus Perez
Booked: Raivis Jurkovskis (59), Wilfried Zahibo (65)
Referee: Derek Tomney
Extratime.com Man of the Match: Michael Duffy (Dundalk FC)