Monday, 20th August 2018
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Bad last minute decision cost the Blues a point

A bad call by the referee and his assistant cost Waterford a valuable point at the Markets Field on Friday last. Trailing 2-1 with just seconds remaining Izzy Akinade rose high to head a delivery from a corner kick to the net taken by Stanley Aborah. The Limerick goalkeeper Tommy Holland caught the ball when it was over the line but the match officials waved play on and a clear goal was not allowed to stand. Social media videos afterwards proved that a clearly good goal was ruled out. Overall this was yet another amazing game between the two Munster rivals. In their previous meeting Limerick won 6-3 at the RSC in a bizarre contest at the RSC. This time around Waterford missed a second minute penalty and Limerick had a player sent off. Limerick then scored from the spot on 34 minutes and Waterford had a player sent packing just before the break. Waterford scored a wonder goal two minutes into the second half but it was the hosts who grabbed the winner on 83 minutes. Then came another decision which ruined the night for the traveling supporters and of course the players.

The game got off to an extraordinary start inside the opening two minutes. Courtney Duffus flicked on a long ball from Dylan Barnett into the path of Noel Hunt, who is tugged back in the area after having his shot saved by keeper Tommy Holland. Referee Damien MacGraith, who was right up with the action, sounded his whistle and pointed straight to the spot much to the dismay of the Limerick players.

A red card followed for defender Eoin Wearan and it was captain Paul Keegan, who scored from the spot against Limerick in their last meeting at the Markets Field, that stepped up to take the kick, but this time Tommy Holland guessed the right way to brilliantly turn the ball around the posts.

It was Keegan that send in the resulting corner kick from the left that picked out the run of Noel Hunt, but his header came crashing back off the post with keeper Holland beaten in what was a remarkable start to the game as the Blues missed two golden opportunities to strike early.

Limerick were awarded a penalty of their own five minutes later that gave them a shock lead. William Fitzgerald was clearly dragged to the ground by Blues defender Dave Webster and it was Billy Dennehy that converted with ease sending Matt Connor the wrong way.

Stanley Aborah was the width of the post away to levelling the tie for the Blues on 43 minutes. Shane Duggan pulled back Bastien Hery to the ground as he tried to set up an attack on goal, but the midfielder saw his right-footed 25-yard effort strike the outside of the left-hand post.

The evening got worse for the Blues and Dave Webster in the final minute of an extraordinary first half when the central defender, who was cautioned for the challenge on Fitzgerald, was shown a second yellow for a late challenge on Limerick striker Connor Ellis to which there could be no complaints.

It was a wonder goal that brought Waterford level with just two minutes playing in the second half. Bastien Hery, who once played for Limerick, went on an amazing 70-yard run, with options left and right in Duffus and Hunt, the midfielder just kept going before firing a right-footed shot from 16 yards past Holland.

The Blues began to get a hold of the game at this stage and they forced keeper Tommy Holland into a smart save on 63 minutes when Izzy Akinade knocked the ball down into the path of Noel Hunt, but his left-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area was superbly turned around the posts.

The home side won the game in stunning fashion to shock the Blues on 83 minutes when captain Shane Duggan picked up the ball on the right side of the area before rifling an unstoppable shot past Matt Connor for a goal worthy of winning any game.

There was one final twist in the second minute of added time when Stanley Aborah sent over a corner kick from the right to the back post when the unmarked Izzy Akinade thought that he had scored, the ball looked over the line but keeper Holland held the ball and the match officials waved play on much to the disgust of the Waterford management. It was a shocking decision and it put a dent in Waterford's hopes for European football next season. This Friday they play the champions Cork City at the RSC with an 8.00pm kick-off time.

LIMERICK FC: TommyHolland,Killian Cantwell, Eoin Wearan, Killian Brouder, Darren Murphy, Cian Coleman, Shane Duggan, Barry Maguire (Karl O'Sullivan '31), WilliamFitzgerald, Ellis (Danny Morrissey '71),Billy Dennehy.

WATERFORD FC: Matthew Connor, Dessie Hutchinson, Kenny Browne, David Webster, Dylan Barnett, Paul Keegan (Carlos Wilson '79), Stanley Aborah, Bastien Hery, Sander Puri (Rory Feely '57), Noel Hunt, Courtney Duffus (Izzy Akinade '57)

Referee: Damien MacGrath. Assistants. Trevor Cotter and Rafael Piper.

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