Wednesday, 15th August 2012
Waterford United held in boring scoreless draw
Airtricity League of Ireland First Division
waterford united 0 - 0 athlone town
Waterford United and Athlone Town played out a boring draw at the RSC on Friday night last, and the dropped points could have ruined any chance the Blues had of catching the league leaders Limerick. In their previous home match, Finn Harps took points off Waterford also, so the Kilbarry venue could prove costly for the home side come the end of the season. Earlier in the campaign Athlone drew once again with the Blues at the RSC.
Craig Burns returned to the Waterford United defence in place of David Breen who dropped to the bench. Stephen Mulcahy came back into the team in place of the injured Ben Ryan and Willie John Kiely started up front instead of Peter Keegan from the team which won against Mervue United the previous week.
The first strike on target arrived after the quarter hour mark but Pat Jennings easily saved Willie John Kiely's strike, after a smart turn to create the space for the chance. Barry O'Mahony fed Sean Scully to cross from the right shortly afterwards for Athlone, but Packie Holden was alert to the danger, collecting ahead of the waiting Mark McGoldrick.
Waterford had a shout for a penalty as the game approached the half hour, but referee Kevin O'Regan waved play off after Peter White went down in the penalty area after good work from Sean Maguire Athlone then had two good chances to get the opening goal. Mark Walsh and Barry O'Mahony teamed up to dispossess Maguire in the middle of the park, but Walsh's tame effort was easily saved. Holden distributed the ball to full-back Paul Carey but his carelessness allowed McGoldrick in but he fired straight at Holden.
Athlone continued to pressure the home side and Scully's neat one-two with McGoldrick saw him fire at goal, but again Holden saved easily. The final opportunity of the first half allowed the home side a chance to break the deadlock but Peter White couldn't keep his 25-yard strike on target.
Mike Kerley's side had a great chance to go in front ten minutes into the second half as Shane Dunne's cross from the left for substitute Noel McGee saw him flash his header at goal, but Packie Holden got down smartly to make a good save. The chances kept coming as three minutes later Peter White should have at least tested Jennings from 10-yards, but his header was off target. Sean Maguire had a chance soon after but he couldn't keep his header on target after Paul Carey's cross. Gary Dempsey tested Jennings with a shot from a tight angle but the keeper was always behind his powerful effort.
The Blues were reduced to ten men with eleven minutes remaining when Willie John Kiely was given a straight red card for a very poor challenge on McGoldrick, which almost saw tempers boil over with opposing players having strong words as McGoldrick was treated on the pitch. Despite the red card, the home side continued to pressure the Athlone penalty area, but the defensive partnership of Joe Woods and Brian McCarthy was holding strong.
Craig Burns had another chance for the home side but once again the 391 spectators saw the chance wasted. Peter White almost grabbed a winner with four minutes left. The midfielder started the move with a ball to the right that found Aidan McGrath. The youngster centred the ball to White but his diving header went agonisingly wide of Jennings' far post.
Athlone dropped deeper to keep Waterford out but their crowded penalty area could do nothing to stop youngster Sean Maguire with a minute left on the clock. The talented youngster skipped past the challenges of three Athlone defenders but he couldn't squeeze the ball past Jennings at his near post. Next up for Waterford is another home game against Wexford Youths this Friday and a huge improvement from the last two home games will be required if any flickering hopes of automatic promotion are to be kept alive.
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