Waterford FC 1 -
Patrick McClean bringing the ball out of defence during his side’s win over Shelbourne at the RSC. Photo: Noel Browne.
SSE Airtricity League First Division
It was a battling performance once again from Waterford FC as they moved back to the summit of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table on Friday night last as a lone headed goal from striker Mark O’Sullivan gave the Blues victory over Shelbourne at the RSC.
Played in front of another massive crowd of 1,427, the home side just shaded a contest that wasn’t littered with goalless opportunity but Blues coach Alan Reynolds, who took his spot in the dugout, would have been pleased that the tabletoppers got back to winning ways.
Shelbourne carved out the first chance of the game inside the opening minute when midfielder Dayle Rooney tried his luck with a brilliant lob from 25-yards but his effort just cleared the crossbar of Waterford keeper Matthew Connor.
Connor came to his side’s rescue to deny the visitors the lead goal on 12 minutes when Mark Hughes took a pass from Jack Tuite on the right-side of the penalty area but his effort at the near post was superbly turned around for a fruitless corner kick.
The lead goal in the tie arrived for the hosts with their first real attack seven minutes later when Derek Daly whipped in a corner-kick from the left that found the head of centre forward Mark O’Sullivan and he notched his fifth goal of the current campaign with a powerful header past Shelbourne keeper Gary Delaney.
Waterford could have doubled their advantage three minutes before the half time whistle when David McDaid got clear on the right-side of the penalty area but he failed to spot the run of team-mate Mark O’Sullivan before having his effort blocked by defender Derek Prendergast.
With the Blues looking more than comfortable, they were dealt a big blow with 68 minutes on the clock as central defender Patrick McClean went forward for a corner kick however he damaged his shoulder before having to leave the field to be replaced by Jack Lynch.
Mark O’Sullivan could have grabbed his second goal of the contest on 75 minutes when the striker latched onto a long throw from the right from Garry Comerford but his stunning right-footed effort was saved by the legs of Dean Delany.
It was Derek Daly that swung in the resulting corner kick from the left that was met at the near post by defender Jack Lynch but his effort was just inches wide of the neat post with Shelbourne keeper Delany beaten as the Blues tried to get their second goal.
Blues defender Conor Whittle came to his side’s rescue in the final minute of the tie when Aaron Ashe latched onto the ball on the edge of the penalty area but his goalbound effort was superbly blocked as Waterford returned to the summit of the table.
WATERFORD FC: Matthew Connor, Robin Dempsey, Patrick McClean (Jack Lynch `68), David Mulcahy, Derek Daly, Garry Comerford, Shane O’Connor, Anthony McAlavey, Kenny McEvoy (Owen Wall `88), Mark O’Sullivan. David McDaid (Conor Whittle `84)
SHELBOURNE: Dean Delany; Jack Tuite, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Reece McEnteer, James O’Brien (Aaron Ashe `64), David O’Leary, Mark Hughes, Adam Evans, Dayle Rooney, Jackson Ryan (Lorcan Shannon `83)
Referee: David Keeler.