Andrew Dempsey reports from Dalymount Park
Bohemians and Waterford played out a hard-fought scoreless draw at Dalymount Park on Friday evening in a game of very few chances.
Bohs arguably had the better chances but the Blues were full value for a point at the storied Phibsborough venue.
Both sides came into the Friday night showdown with a point to prove, with Alan Reynolds’ side seeking to prove that their last gasp draw at the RSC against Derry City was no fluke.
On the other hand, Keith Long’s side secured another Dublin Derby win over Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Tuesday evening, with Dinny Corcoran’s goal proving to be key for the Gypsies.
There were plenty of changes for both sides. Bohs made eight alterations from their most recent win over the Hoops while the Blues opted for just the three swaps from their draw against Derry.
While Waterford enjoyed much of the early possession, it was Bohemians who produced the first opening of the game.
Ryan Graydon took the ball in from wide and found the head of Ryan Swan but the ex-UCD man could not convert in the end.
It took up until the half-hour mark before another chance of note was created but James Talbot was more than equal to former Bohs midfielder JJ Lunney’s curling strike.
Lunney’s effort seemed to instigate a slight bit more action into the game as the Blues went closer just moments later through Ismahil Akinade.
Zack Elbouzedi’s trickery out wide found the ex-Bohs hitman, but Talbot got down well to save from the big target man.
With the game failing to inspire the masses at Dalymount Park, the atmosphere at the spiritual home of Irish football became strikingly subdued as both sides went in scoreless at the break with plenty to ponder.
The opening of the second period continued in a similar vein of form. The powerful Rory Feely left Paddy Kirk flat footed out wide before cutting in and releasing a poor strike.
With the visitors enjoying much of the ball, Keith Long made a double substitution just on the hour mark and it almost had an instant desired effect.
Swan got on the ball out wide, crossed it in to the recently-introduced Dinny Corcoran, who saw his shot deflect just wide of the Waterford goal.
Also brought on was Daniel Mandroiu, whose introduction was intended to assist the increasingly isolated Keith Ward.
However, due to the energy and pressure of Bastien Hery, many errors were forced in the Bohemians engine room which prevented the two creative stars firing on all cylinders.
With time running out, the dangerous Elbouzedi looked increasingly dangerous, with his composure and skill causing Andy Lyons and the Bohemians back four all sorts of problems.
Bohs had the last real opening of the game through left-back Kirk, but he was unable to trouble Connor as his strike from outside the box just crept wide.
The Gypsies pushed hard late on for a winner late on, as did Waterford, but neither could grab that elusive winner as the sides played out a deserved draw at Dalymount Park.
Bohemians: James Talbot; Andy Lyons, Patrick Kirk, James Finnerty, Aaron Barry; Robbie McCourt, Conor Levingston, Keith Ward; Ryan Swan, Ali Reghba (Dinny Corcoran 59), Ryan Graydon (Daniel Mandroiu 59).
Subs not used: Sean Bohan (gk), Rob Cornwall, Sam Byrne, Michael Barker, Scott Allardice.
Waterford: Matthew Connor; Rory Feely, Damien Delaney, Maxim Kouogun, Aaron Simpson; Bastien Hery, Zack Elbouzedi, Shane Duggan, JJ Lunney; Aaron Drinan, Ismahil Akinade.
Subs not used: Hugo Keto (gk), Shane Griffin, Cory Galvin, Karolis Chvedukas, John Martin, George Poynton, Scott Twine.
Referee: Graham Kelly.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Zack Elbouzedi (Waterford).