Shels come from behind to catch Blues

Dean Reidy on the attack for the Blues against Shelbourne.

Dean Reidy on the attack for the Blues against Shelbourne.

League of Ireland First Division

Waterford United 2
Shelbourne 2

Having lost to Finn Harps and Cabinteely in the previous two games Waterford United looked well on track to get back to winning ways when they led Shelbourne two nil at the interval at the RSC on Friday last.

But two goals from set pieces during the final ten minutes gave the visitors a share of the points.

The home manager Tommy Griffin lined out his team with a new 3-4-1-2 formation and it worked a treat but during the second half the home outfit reverted to a 4-2-3-1 set up and that allowed the visitors from Dublin get a foothold in the game and they forced a massive 12 corner kicks during the second half.

The Blues got off to a super start with a goal inside six minutes when Anthony McAlavey sent in a corner kick from the left that met the head of the unmarked Willie John Kiely at the near post and he powered an unstoppable close range header past Shelbourne keeper Greg Murray.

Kiely was denied his second goal on 12 minutes when Glenn Hawe did well on the right side to feed the ball into the path of McAlavey but after he picked out the striker on the right side of the area his left-footed effort from 14 yards came off the underside of the crossbar.

Shelbourne did have a chance to draw level 60 seconds later when Mark Sandford did well out on the right channel to play the ball to the edge of the area for Jordan Keegan but his low left-footed shot was just inches wide of the right hand post of United keeper Matthew Connor.

The brilliance of the Shelbourne keeper Greg Murray kept his side in the game on 34 minutes when a superb long throw from the right side from Dylan Mernagh was flicked on for Willie John Kiely but his headed that seemed destine for the net was somehow turned around the posts.

The Blues deservedly doubled their lead on the stroke of the half time whistle. Shane Dineen had a free kick saved by the Shelbourne goalkeeper Greg Murray when Murray played the ball to the halfway line, Blues captain Brian Nolan dispossessed his marker and from 45 yards his exquisite right-footed effort sailed over the head of the stranded Shelbourne netminder to really put the home side in the driving seat with a wonder goal that had the fans on their feet.

The Tolka Park outfit did get their noses back in the game with nine minutes remainin when Patrick Fitzgerald brought Conor Earley to ground 20-yards from goal and when Gareth Coughlan stepped over the ball, he gave Connor little chance with a magnificent curling right-footed effort .

Shelbourne found themselves back on level terms on 85 minutes when the hosts conceded their 13th corner of the game. Coughlan’s delivery from the left was headed home by Craig Walsh past a helpless Waterford keeper Matthew Connor.

Waterford United: Matthew Connor, Dean Reidy, Shaun Corcoran, Patrick Fitzgerald (Anthony O’Donnell ‘90),Shane Dineen, Anthony McAlavey, Brian Nolan, Dylan Mernagh, Glen Hawe (Mikie Rowe ‘78), Willie John Kiely (Mark Walsh ‘77),Craig Burns.

Shelbourne: Greg Murray, Daire Doyle, Evan Osam (Philly Hughes ‘50),Ryan Robinson, Sean Heaney, Colm Crowe, Gareth Coughlan, Craig Walsh, Mark Sandford, Jordan Keegan (Alan O’Sullivan ‘74), Alan Kehoe (Conor Earley ‘59)

Referee: Eoghan O’Shea (Tipperary)

Matt Keane

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