Waterford United 4; Finn Harps 0
Waterford United closed the gap on the league leaders Shelbourne to just two points following a wonderful victory against Finn Harps at the RSC on Tuesday night.
The playing surface was extremely heavy due to the rain that fell all day and water was lodged at various areas of the pitch but that fact did not worry the Blues because they knocked the ball around the park in superb style throughout.
This was Waterford’s first home victory over Finn Harps since 2005 when they won 2-1. Waterford dominated the opening 45 minutes but good goalkeeping by Ciaran Gallagher and an offside ‘goal’ meant that the sides went in level at the interval.
Playing into the city end in the second period, and with the advantage of a stiff breeze, the home side launched attack after attack and at times the visitors had all ten outfield players defending as the pressure mounted.
Waterford manager Stephen Henderson withdrew Willie John Kiely after 53 minutes and brought on David Grincell and the former Waterford Bohemians and Tramore striker was the player who eventually broke the deadlock after 70 minutes. John Kearney played the ball out wide, on the left, to Grincell who went past two defenders before cutting into the penalty area and unleashing an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper high into the roof of the net from 16 yards.
Two minutes later, John Kearney played a slide-rule pass to Graham Cummins and he coolly slipped the ball under the body of the advancing goalkeeper from inside the penalty area to score his 13th league goal of the season.
Grincell was involved in Waterford’s third goal on 80 minutes. His angled shot from the left was handled on the line by defender Pakie Mailey. The Harps player was sent off before Cummins hammered the penalty kick to the back of the net. In the last minute, Cummins was fouled on the edge of the penalty area by Seamus Sharkey. Alan Carey took the resultant free kick and delightfully curled the ball into the roof of the net.
The Blues now head to Terryland Pak to play lowly Mervue United on Saturday (kick off 7pm). They have the best goal difference of the four top teams and, if they defeat Mervue and the other top three clubs slip up, Stephen Henderson’s men could be the new leaders on Sunday.
Waterford United. Michael Devine, Alan Carey, Kenny Browne, Kevin Murray, Seamus Long, John Kearney, Dave Waren, Paul Walsh, Kevin Waters, Willie John Kiely, Graham Cummins. Subs. David Grincell for Kiely (53 mins) Stephen Grant for Warren (81 mins)
Finn Harps. Cieran Gallagher, Ian Rossiter, Cieran Coll, Pakie Mailey, Seamus Sharkey, Michael Funston, Brian Lafferty, Shane McGowan, Paddy Bonner, Mark Brolly, Stephen McLoughlin.Subs. Mark Moran for Bonner (78 mins) Oisin McMenamin for Lafferty (79 mins) Mark Forkar for Funston (84 mins)
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).