Ciarán Fisher reports from Oriel Park
Waterford reversed a poor run of form to overcome struggling Dundalk 3-1 in Oriel Park. A goal from Shane Griffin and a brace from John Martin eclipsed Patrick Hoban’s opening penalty goal.
Dundalk’s preparations for this game suffered a setback in the warm up, when David McMillian pulled up with a hamstring issue. Norwegian Ole Erik Midskogen was given the nod to lead the line with Patrick Hoban up top.
A scrappy opening ten minutes was perhaps symptomatic of a return from a mid-season break. Dundalk were the first to find a bit of momentum and looked dangerous on the wings.
Val Adedokun and Michael Duffy looked sharp on the left and both managed a number of menacing looking balls into the box, this looked the most likely avenue for cracking a well organised Waterford.
But it was the last minute stand in, Midtskogen who would force the Blues' hand. Patrick Hoban played a ball into his path and he did well to take it into the box under close attention from Cameron Evans breathing down his neck.
Evans fouled him before he could get a shot away and a penalty was awarded. Patrick Hoban converted from the spot, giving the limited number of fans in Oriel something to cheer.
Dundalk looked likely to add a second, in fact, you could be forgiven for thinking the Blues might try and play for the half time whistle after a number of half-chances in quick succession presented themselves for the Oriel outfit. It 'seemed’ only a matter of time until Dundalk breached the dogged visiting defence from play.
And then, a fortuitous chance was presented to John Martin. He found himself in a race for a sticky ball back to the Dundalk goal with Andy Boyle. Martins got there first and dragged the Blues back onto parity with their first chance of note in the game. It was devastating timing.
The home side once again dominated proceedings from the kick off. And a second goal seemed almost inevitable on the hour mark. Brian Murphy’s goal seemed to be leading a charmed life and then, once again, against the run of play – Waterford scored.
Greg Sloggett delayed a pass, deep in his own pass. This gave Waterford their first touches in the Dundalk half. And in the ensuing chaos, Shane Griffin was gifted a chance from six yards on the 62nd minutes. He made no mistake.
Truth be told, Dundalk looked shook from that second sucker-punch and they were left on the ropes in the 75th minutes, when John Martin nabbed his brace to make it 3-1. A hardly pursued Jamie Mascoll on the left wing crossed to an unmarked Martin at the back-post.
Dundalk did have chances, noticeably a good hit from McEleney who took the ball down well over his right shoulder. Forcing a fine save from Murphy – but without the pomp of being in the lead, two goals always looked beyond this low on confidence Louth side.
Temporary manger, Jim Magilton, introduced Jesus Perez on the 89th minute. But there would be no water into wine moment. Waterford nabbed a rare win, their first one in eight games and climb off the bottom of the table.
For the few Dundalk fans allowed in to watch, they might well have wished they stayed at home. D:Ream’s ‘Things can only get better’ blared over the tannoy at the end. From a Dundalk perspective, you would certainly hope so.
Dundalk: Alessio Abibi; Sonni Nattestad, Cameron Dummigan, Andy Boyle (c); Sam Stanton, Greg Sloggett (Sean Murray 71), Patrick McEleney (Jesus Perez 87), Michael Duffy; Ole Erik Midtskogen (Daniel Kelly 64), Patrick Hoban, Val Adedokun.
Subs not used: Ryan O'Kane, David McMillan, Darragh Leahy, Han Jeongwoo, Mark Hanratty, Peter Cherrie.
Waterford: Brian Murphy; Kyle Ferguson, Cameron Evans, Jamie Mascoll, Darragh Power, Jack Stafford; Shane Griffin (Cian Kavanagh 84), Niall O'Keeffe, Adam O'Reilly; John Martin, Prince Mutswunguma (Eric Molloy 79).
Subs not used: Paul Martin, Liam Kervick, Matthew Connor, Cian Browne, Katlego Mashigo, Callum Stringer.
Booked: Cameron Evans (31) Shane Griffin (21).
Referee: John McLoughlin
extratime.com Player of the Match: John Martin (Waterford FC)