Friday, 20th July 2018
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Promotion party must wait following stalemate at RSC

Waterford FC 1 - Shelbourne 1

There was a possibility that Waterford FC would have been crowned champions and promoted to the Premier League on Friday last. Had the Blues come out on top in this game and if Athlone Town had beaten second placed Cobh Ramblers the dream would have been fulfilled but unfortunately neither match produced the results required. Shelbourne draw with the Blues for a third time this season and Cobh Ramblers scored their winning goal three minutes into stoppage time in Athlone so the wait for the promised land must wait. Next up for Waterford is an away game against Wexford FC on Friday, September 15th. The following evening Ramblers play at home to Cabinteely. Should both sides win their respective games then the Waterford will have the opportunity to finally get over the line when they host Longford Town on Friday 22nd as five points is the gap between the two clubs.

Waterford had a golden chance to take the lead with two minutes on the clock when assistant referee Michelle O'Neill flagged that Mark O'Sullivan was fouled in the area and referee Alan Carey pointed to the spot but for the second time against Shelbourne this season, David McDaid missed from the spot as he blazed over.

The home side were punished for that miss as the visitors struck the front on five minutes when a long ball out of the defence saw Adam Evans pick up possession of the ball on the right-side of the area and he beat keeper Matthew Connor with a left-footed strike at his near post from 14 yards.

Connor came to his sides rescue to deny the Tolka Park outfit their second goal on 20 minutes when Mark Hughes did well to get better off his mark but his low right-footed shot was saved at his near post for a fruitless corner kick.

With the Blues final pass leaving them down during the first half, it was Adam Evans that nearly scored his second goal of the game on 31 minutes when the pacey attacker got free on the right-side but his shot was turned out for a corner by Matthew Connor

Waterford got themselves back on level terms just three minutes into the second half when Paul Keegan whipped in a superb corner kick from the left that put keeper Dean Delany under pressure and Aaron Drinan got the final touch to knock the ball over the line.

The Blues had a brilliant chance to get their noses in front on 57 minutes when Mark O'Sullivan sent John Martin into the clear on the left-side of the penalty area but Shelbourne keeper Dean Delany stood tall to make a super save.

Garry Comerford went close to putting the hosts in front ten minutes when Aaron Drinan crossed in from the right that saw O'Sullivan knock the ball into the path of the midfielder but his header from eight yards flashed inches over the crossbar.

A piece of genius from Waterford's Sander Puri on 81 minutes nearly carved out the lead goal for his side when the Estonian International took a pass from Aaron Drinan, who picked up a long throw from Matthew Connors but his stunning strike from the right-side of the area came crashing back off the far post with Delany beaten.

Matthew Connor made a fine save to deny James English soon afterwards before Puri missed a magnificent chance to win the contest for the hosts in the final minute of the half when he got on the end of a right-wing Dean Walsh at the back post but the winger fired wide with the goal at his mercy.

WATERFORD FC: Matthew Connor, Conor Whittle, Kenny Browne, Sean Heaney, Shane O'Connor, Paul Keegan, Garry Comerford, John Martin (Dean Walsh `84), David McDaid (Sander Puri `73), Aaron Drinan, Mark O'Sullivan

SHELBOURNE: Dean Delany, James Browne, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Sean Byrne (Jamie Doyle `74), Mark Hughes, James O'Brien (James English `65), David O'Leary, Dayle Rooney, Dylan Kavanagh, Adam Evans

Referee: Alan Carey. Assistants. Michelle O'Neill and Brian Fenlon.


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