Waterford go one point clear at the summit
Waterford FC 2 - Cobh Ramblers 1
Waterford have gone a point clear at the top of the league table following this victory over Cobh Ramblers at the RSC on Friday night last. They were locked together with Ramblers prior to kick off so they have put a little day light between themselves and the Co Cork outfit. UCD defeated Athlone Town 4-1 on Saturday and they have moved into second place on 13 points, one behind the Blues. The largest crowd to watch a league game at the Kilbarry venue for many years saw the home side grind out a victory against a well organised side who are managed by Stephen Henderson. Next up for Waterford is another home game on Good Friday against Athlone Town. This is the first game in Series Two. Athlone won the first game of the season one nil when the sides met back in February so the Blues will be hoping to get one over on their opponents this time around. On Easter Monday (kick-off 3.00pm) Cobh Ramblers return to the RSC for a game in the second round of the EA Sports Cup.
Waterford made two change to the starting eleven that drew with Longford Town the previous week. for this game as Dean Walsh came in for the suspended David McDaid. Matthew Connor replaced the injured Ian McLoughlin in goal. The game was played in front of the largest crowd to watch a league game for many years.
The Blues went in front after 12 minutes when Derek Daly sent in a cross from the left that was met by the head of Mark O'Sullivan but after his effort was blocked by defender Ben O'Riordan, the striker fired across goal where Kenny McEvoy was on hand to blast home from close range.
After the hosts lost central defender Kenny Browne to injury six minutes, his replacement Gary Delaney was caught in possession seconds later when Matthew Whelan nipped through on the left side of the area but Matthew Connor did well to save with his legs.
Connor was called into action once again on 22 minutes when Whelan cracked in a shot from the edge of the penalty area but his low effort was saved before Derek Daly tried his luck from distance soon afterwards however his goalbound effort was blocked by his own teammate Dean Walsh.
It was Matthew Whelan that forced Matthew Connor into another save on 41 minutes when he took the ball on the left-side of the area before turning onto his right foot but the netminder got down well to keep out his 16-yard effort.
Craig Donnellan could have brought the visitors from Leeside right back into the contest on 48 minutes when he got free on the right side of the penalty area but his well struck shot was gathered by Matthew Connor at the second attempt.
The visitors did get themselves back on level terms through an own goal on 53 minutes when Ian Mylod whipped in a free kick from the right that was powered to his own net by Waterford defender Gary Delaney, who gave keeper Connor no chance.
This goal really rocked the home side as the visitors upped their performance and could have gotten their noses in front on 68 minutes when Charlie Fleming put in a cross from the right that broke to Stephen Christopher but he blazed inches over the crossbar.
When it looked as if the game was slipping away from Waterford, Patrick McClean had other ideas when he rose at the back post to meet a Derek Daly free kick and his header found the bottom left-corner of the net to send the RSC faithful wild.
Waterford FC. Matthew Connor, Patrick McClean, David Mulcahy, Garry Comerford, Shane O'Connor, Mark O'Sullivan, Dean Walsh (Anthony McAlavey `62), Derek Daly, Kenny McEvoy (Dean O'Halloran `73), Kenny Browne (Gary Delaney `18), Tom Smith
Cobh Ramblers. Paul Hunt, Charlie Fleming, Ian Mylod, Ben O'Riordan, James McSweeney, Cian Coleman, Stephen Christopher, Craig Donnellan, Matthew Whelan (Ross Mann `76), Karl Caulfield, Scott McCarthy (Kyle McNamara `66)
Referee: Eoghan O'Shea . Assistants. Alan Dunne and Brian Fenlon.