Stuart Connolly reports from Finn Park
Waterford cut the gap to Finn Harps to four points after a Junior Quitirna penalty in first half stoppage time was enough to seal the win for Marc Bircham’s side.
Barry McNamee had a penalty of his own saved after the restart while Waterford played the final five minutes with ten men due to a red card for Prince Mutswunguma.
Harps are now without a win in their last seven while Waterford have gained ten points during that stretch of games.
Finn Harps got the game underway, and on this occasion were under the watchful eye of 200 spectators with local restrictions slowly easing.
Hoping to arrest a run of seven defeats in a row against the Ballybofey outfit, Waterford almost presented their hosts for the evening with a gift after a potential blunder in defence, but keeper Matthew Connor got the luck of the bounce with Adam Foley closing in for what would have been a certain goal.
Foley was again involved in the home side's next shot at goal, though it was comfortable for Connor.
Waterford worked their way into the game approaching the half hour and route one was the method used for their first real chance. After the bounce got the better of Mark Coyle, who was the last man, Prince Mutswunguma raced clear but Mark McGinley smothered the attempted deft finish past him.
Harps had the ball cleared off the line shortly after the half hour as Waterford scrambled to clear a corner.
As half-time neared, Waterford were awarded a penalty. Jordan Mustoe dragged down Darragh Power and Junior Quitirna stepped up and blasted the ball home, giving McGinley no chance.
The second-half started much like the first one ended, with the awarding of a penalty. This one went in Harps’ favour as Sean Boyd was brought down but Barry McNamee had his spot kick well saved by Connor with Kyle Ferguson alert to clear the danger and not allow any second chances.
Just five minutes later, Harps went close to a leveller but a shot from a narrow angle by Foley thumped the base of the post.
After the hour, concrete chances weren’t easy to come by despite the back-and-forth nature of the game with Sean Boyd going closest, heading wide from a set-piece.
With the final minutes of play on the horizon, Harps began to throw bodies forward in a bid to level the match.
And when the game entered stoppage time, they gained a slight advantage as Waterford were reduced to ten men. Prince Mutswunguma sent off with a second booking for a late tackle on Stephen Doherty.
With a late free-kick, McGinley made his way forward in an attempt to create his own Allisson moment but Waterford cleared and sealed their first away clean sheet of the campaign.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Jordan Mustoe(Stephen Doherty 67), David Webster(Ryan Rainey 24, Conor Barry 82), Ethan Boyle, Johnny Dunleavy; Barry McNamee, Mark Coyle(Ryan Connolly 82), Will Seymore, Karl O’Sullivan; Sean Boyd(Tunde Owolabi 67), Adam Foley.
Subs not used: Gerard Doherty, Nathan Logue, Joel Bradley Walsh, Luke Rudden.
Booked: Barry McNamee(58), Ethan Boyle(61), Stephen Doherty(76), Tunde Owolabi(90), Ryan Connolly(90)
Waterford: Matthew Connor; Darragh Power, Cameron Evans, Kyle Ferguson, Eddie Nolan, John Martin; Shane Griffin, Anthony Wordsworth, Junior Quitirna (Cian Kavanagh 73), Niall O’Keeffe; Prince Mutswunguma.
Subs not used: Paul Martin, George Forrest, Jeremie Milambo, Katlego Mashigo, Max Hutchinson, Jack Stafford, Isaac Tshipamba.
Booked: Prince Mutswunguma(79 & 90)
Referee: Derek Tomney.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Junior Quitirna (Waterford).