Dylan O’Connell reports from the RSC
A brilliant curling strike from Cian Kavanagh in the second half at the RSC on Sunday afternoon saw Waterford beat Sligo Rovers 1-0.
The three points moved the Blues within a point of eighth place Finn Harps, while Sligo Rovers remain third in the Premier Division table as they now trail Shamrock Rovers and St. Patrick’s Athletic by three points.
While the final whistle celebrations belonged to Marc Bicham’s team, Sligo dominated this Premier Division encounter in the sunny south east.
The Bit O’Red opened up the Waterford defence for the first chance of the game with an excellent cross from Regan Donelon. The ball dropped to Mark Byrne, who squared it to Johnny Kenny and his shot was saved by goalkeeper Matthew Connor.
The Blues were forced into an early double substitution after Connor and defender Kyle Ferguson went off injured.
This did not deter the Blues, as they had an excellent chance from the restart when Jeremie Milambo nearly had a cross turned in by Donelon. Luke McNicholas dived from his line and clawed the ball away.
This lead to a corner and Junior Quitirna got free but he couldn’t control, and the visitors won back possession.
Walter Figueira had a great opportunity for the visitors in the final few minutes of the first half, but this was blocked by Eddie Nolan.
Seconds into the second half, Waterford thought they were ahead when Anthony Wordsworth fired into the top corner from an indirect free-kick. Referee David Dunne ruled this out due to the nature of the set-piece, which led to a loud cheer from the meagre number of visiting fans.
Cian Kavanagh picked the ball up from the restart and galloped towards goal. He then readied himself, and curled a sensational shot into the top right corner, giving the Blues the lead.
Sligo responded with a wave of substitutions and Colm Hogan nearly turned in a corner from Jordan Gibson with his first touch. Freakishly, the ball hit the inside the post and fell into the hands of Paul Martin.
Kavanagh could have made it 2-0 when he picked off a misplaced pass and broke one on one with McNicholas. The striker ran into space and his attempt to roll the ball into the goal was knocked away to safety by the Sligo goalkeeper.
Romeo Parkes had two clear chances in the final five minutes for Sligo and both were well saved by Martin as the Blues battled to the final whistle to claim all three points.
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor (Paul Martin 25); Darragh Power, Kyle Ferguson (George Forrest 25), Shane Griffin, Anthony Wordsworth, Cian Kavanagh, Junior Quitirna, John Martin, Niall O’Keeffe, Jeremie Milambo (Jack Stafford 68), Eddie Nolan.
Subs not used: Max Hutchison.
Sligo Rovers: Luke McNicholas; Lewis Banks, Jordan Gibson, Niall Morahan, Walter Figueira (Seamus Keogh 63), Mark Byrne (Colm Horgan 63), Shane Blaney, Regan Donelon, David Cawley (Romeo Parkes 62), Johnny Kenny (Danny Kane 74), Garry Buckley (Adam McDonnell 74).
Subs not used: Ryan De Vries, Darren Collins, John Mahon, Richard Brush.
Referee: David Dunne
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Cian Kavanagh