Saturday, 26th May 2018
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Dundalk rocked by brilliant Blues

League leaders Dundalk were rocked to the core at the RSC on Friday last. They looked dangerous during the opening 30 minutes but when they lost the service of their skipper Stephen O'Donnell after 39 minutes (confirmed as a broken leg) and then when Izzy Akinade scored two quickfire goals within the space of three minutes the Lillywhites were creaking. They did pull a goal back with the last kick of the extended first half but that was as good as it got for the visitors. The victory moved the Blues level at the top of the table with their opponents with a total of 31 points and over 3,500 spectators were present to see Waterford extend their unbeaten home record at the Kilbarry venue. The previous Monday Alan Reynolds men had beaten Bohemians in Dalymount Park so the season just gets better and better with every passing week. Promoted for the First Division last season most pundits expected the Blues to fill a midtable position come the end of the season but now they are in the top three positions and at this stage it looks as if along with Dundalk and Cork City they are pulling away from the chasing pack. It really is fairy tale stuff by the local club.

Dundalk controlled most of the first period. Michael Duffy was a threat down the right but he cured wide after skipping past Waterford’s Stanley Aborah after 12 minutes before the same races down the left eight minutes later however his effort was also wide.

Waterford came into the game and had their first real chance in the final ten minutes of the half; Izzy Akinade’s header from Aborah’s cross forcing Rogers into a good save.

And it was the home side who took the lead on 47 minutes. An injury to Stephen O’Donnell meant six minutes of additional time – and Waterford took advantage. Rory Feely swung in the ball for Izzy Akinade to rise above Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers to give the lead two minutes into added time.

The Blues lead was doubled in the seventh minute of stoppage time when Garry Comerford fizzed the ball into the feet of Akinade and he held off three defenders before slotting the ball low into the far corner. It was a top class finish by the big Blues striker.

Dundalk pulled a goal back in the ninth added minute of the half when Ronan Murray stepping up to fire a superb free kick into the top corner that gave Lawrence Vigouroux no chance whatsoever. It was a superb finish by the visiting midfielder.

The hosts started the second half well and Gavan Holohan went close with a low strike minutes into the half before Pat Hoban saw his header easily saved by Vigouroux.

Paul Keegan had another chance for the Blues just passed the hour mark but he fired off the inside of the post and across the face of Rogers’ goal and clear. That was a real let off for Dundalk because at that stage a third Waterford goal would have buried the Lillywhites.

Hoban had another great chance as the game entered the final quarter; firing wide after a good cross from Duffy on the left wing as the visitors went in search of an equalising goal.

It was Robbie Benson that went close for Dundalk with four minutes remaining on the clock but he fired wide from deep inside the penalty area. Chris Shields thought he had levelled in added time but his effort was blocked out by a Garry Comerford intervention.

Dylan Barnett brought a superb save out of the Dundalk goalkeeper in the fourth added minute as his cracking left-footed strike was turned around the posts and the sound of the final whistle brought unbridled scenes around the RSC. It was one of those very special nights and a match that will be spoken about for a very long time to come.

Waterford FC: Lawrence Vigouroux, Rory Feely, David Webster, Garry Comerford, Dylan Barnett, Paul Keegan, Bastien Héry, Stanley Aborah (John Martin ’69), Gavan Holohan, Courtney Duffus (Sander Puri`84) Izzy Akinade.

Dundalk: GaryRogers, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Stephen O’Donnell (Chris Shields ’45), Michael Duffy, John Mountney, Patrick Hoban, Robbie Benson, Ronan Murray (Dylan Connolly ’63), Daniel Cleary (Jamie McGrath ’46), Dean Jarvis .

Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin) Assistants Wayne McDonnell and Darragh Keegan.

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