Blues see off Cork on emotionally charged night

League of Ireland, Premier Division

Waterford FC 2
Cork City 0

This game played the RSC on Good Friday was one of the most emotional and extraordinary ever played at the Kilbarry venue. The previous day Waterford FC were informed by UEFA that they would not be allowed play in the Europa League and everyone who loves the club were completely shattered and both young and old supporters who turned up (2,604) were heart-broken prior to the match. Some of the loyal Blues fans had tears in their eyes due to the decision. There was a strange feeling in the stadium but when the Waterford players ran on to the pitch for their warm-up the place erupted and it was clear at that early stage that this would be a very special occasion and that is exactly what unfolded. Cork City felt the full power and force that the players and the spectators put in during the 90 plus minutes and as a result the Blues defeated the Leesiders for the second time this season.

Waterford FC’s Zack Elbouzedi is congratulated by team mate, Aaron Drinan after scoring the crucial second goal.

Waterford FC’s Zack Elbouzedi is congratulated by team mate, Aaron Drinan after scoring the crucial second goal.

Bastien Héry nearly broke the deadlock with a stunning overhead kick on five minutes but his effort was just wide of the back post.Cork captain Garry Buckley had the first chance for the visitors on 20 minutes but his turn and right-footed shot failed to trouble Waterford keeper Matt Connor as the ball went harmlessly wide. Kevin Lynch nearly scored from a cracking free kick four minutes later but his effort was superbly tipped away by Mark McNulty.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the Blues net on 32 minutes but Garry Buckley’s rebound from a Graham Cummins shot was ruled out for offside.The Blues should have broken the deadlock on 39 minutes when a pass of beauty from Bastien Héry sent Zack Elbouzedi clear but he couldn’t keep his effort down as the ball went over the bar.Héry went close to ending the half in style for his side with literally the last kick but his first-time left-footed shot from 16 yards whistled inches wide of McNulty’s near post.

McNulty made the first save of the second half on 51 minutes when he tipped a Shane Duggan shot over the bar. Waterford had their tails up at this stage of the game and created another decent chance on 72 minutes when JJ Lunney’s free kick picked out Rory Feely, but his header was cleared off the line by Dan Casey. The RSC erupted on 75 minutes as the Blues scored the goal they deserved.Shane Duggan picked up possession of the ball 25-yards from goal and his shot at goal took a slight deflection before flying past the helpless McNulty.

The midfielder could have grabbed a second goal on 82 minutes when he cut into the penalty area, but his low shot was saved. With six minutes added on by referee Neil Doyle, Zack Elbouzedi made sure of all three points when he raced clear after a Rory Feely’s clearance and finished superbly over McNulty as the RSC went wild at the final whistle.

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