Saturday, 16th December 2017
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Blues back dining at top table after ten years 

Across the Back by Booter Wexford CF  0  Waterford FC  3

Waterford FC are back in the Premier League after ten years scrambling for crumbs in the First Division.

Twelve months ago the club were on their knees and at one stage it looked as if they might go out of business completely. Enter a gentleman called Lee Power who decided to take over the running of the club and he appointed Alan Reynolds as manager and he also brought in Pat Fenlon as the Director of Football. Mr Power revamped the club from top to bottom including scrapping the ``United'' from the name and rebranding the club crest. Top class players were signed and they were linked up with the best of local talent. Lee Power made it clear from the outset that nothing more than promotion at the first time of asking was the aim and his ambition was fulfilled last wekend. The Blues simply had to beat Wexford in Ferrycarrig Park on Friday last and then defeat Longford Town the following week at the RSC to secure a return to the Premier League. Second placed Cobh Ramblers who fell eight points behind Waterford following the outcome in Wexford had to beat Cabinteely in St Coleman's Park twenty four hours later but they came up short and they were surprisingly beaten by Cabinteely three nil. That outcome meant that Waterford could not be caught and now next Friday's match at home to Longford will be a party night as the players will be paraded in front of what will be a sold out attendance. It's going to be an emotional night for all Blues lovers and the club have organised a lot of special events for the night. The team of course will also want to turn on the style on the pitch against the visitors so this will be an occasion to remember for ever. Waterford were never in any trouble against Wexford and they dominated the match from start to finish. 

The Blues set the tempo of the game with Mark O’Sullivan and Sander Puri failing to get on good crosses into the area before Danny Bolger was called into action on 19 minutes. Sean Heaney sent in a ball from the left that found Puri but his low left-footed shot from 16 yards was well saved by the home netminder.

Waterford broke the deadlock just five minutes later when a superb ball out of defence from Kenny Browne picked out John Martin and after he flicked the ball into the path of Mark O’Sullivan, he found the net with a neat finish from close range.

O’Sullivan could have doubled the Blues lead on 26 minutes when he took a pass from Sander Puri on the left-side of the penalty area but he failed to beat keeper Bolger at his near post as his right-footed shot went into the sidenetting.

Thomas Croke could have brought Wexford FC back on level terms with 31 minutes on the clock when the midfielder rose unchallenged deep inside the penalty area to meet Adam Hanlon’s right-wing free kick but he couldn’t direct his header on target.

Wexford keeper Danny Bolger produced a top save to deny the visitors to Ferrycarrig Park a second goal five minutes when midfielder Paul Keegan took possession of the ball 25-yards from goal but his well struck right-footed effort was turned around the posts for a corner kick.

Some brilliant build-up play from Waterford nearly yielded a goal on 38 minutes when Keegan fed Garry Comerford, who sprayed the ball out to the right channel for Aaron Drinan but his stinging right-footed shot from 14 yards was inches wide of Bolger’s near post.

A second Blues goal did arrive two minutes before the sound of the half time when Sander Puri looked to have been dragged down as he raced clear on goal but when the ball broke to Mark O’Sullivan, he drilled an unstoppable right-footed shot low to the left-corner of the net past a helpless Danny Bolger.

O’Sullivan did have a half chance to grab his hat-trick six minutes into the second half when he latched onto a breaking ball into the area from Paul Keegan but his snapshot failed to trouble keeper Bolger as the ball went harmlessly wide of the right-hand post.

With the Blues looking dangerous with every attack, John Martin superbly control a long ball from Kenny Browne on 57 minutes but he fired over the bar before Paddy Barrett rose highest in the area to meet a Keegan delivery two minutes later however keeper Danny Bolger saved.

Waterford put the game to bed with 15 minutes remaining in the contest when brilliant counterattacking football saw Garry Comerford linked up with Paddy Barrett, who fed John Martin and after Bolger failed to hold the ball, the attacker fired the rebound to the net.

Aaron Drinan could have put the icing on the cake in second half injury time when he got on the end of a right-wing Dean O’Halloran cross but Wexford defender Craig McCabe got in a vital block. The huge travelling contingent of Waterford left the ground singing loudly but just wait until we hear them this Friday. It will be special. 

WEXFORD FC: Danny Bolger, Craig McCabe, Conor Sutton, Ross Kenny, Owen McCormack, Thomas Croke (Shane Dunne `66), Adam O’Rourke (Danny Doyle `79), Mikey Byrne, Aaron Dobbs, Dean George (Aaron O’Connor `54), Adam Hanlon.

WATERFORD FC: Matthew Connor, Anthony McAlavey, Paddy Barrett (Jack Lynch `90), Kenny Browne, Sean Heaney, Paul Keegan, Garry Comerford, Sander Puri (Dean Walsh `76), John Martin (Dean O’Halloran `82), Aaron Drinan, Mark O’Sullivan.

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea (North Tipperary.

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