Waterford Crystal 3; Southend United 1
The Waterford Crystal players looked leg weary during the first half of this game on Sunday morning following their hard earned victory over Tramore the previous Thursday.
They fell behind to a Southend United side who could be dragged into trouble if they fail to win another game, but champions are made of hardy stuff and they ran out easy enough winners.
A penalty early in the second half award turned the game on it head. United were leading at the time but when the home side equalised from the spot they took over. Crystal are now only two points behind Tramore.
Southend took the lead after 23 minutes. An Aaron Butler corner from the right was headed on by Daniel O’Sullivan to Wayne Dunne who headed past Derek Hearne at the far post.
Two minutes into the second period Derek Hearne prevented Crystal from falling two behind when he saved brilliantly from David Croke.
The match was turned on its head a minute later. Michael Farrell handled a left wing cross from Paul Quilty and penalty ace Keith Sheridan made no mistake, sending United ‘keeper Cliff Kearney the wrong way.
Crystal took the lead for the first time on 62 minutes. Left-full Jimmy Barden sent over a cross to Joe Watson who headed the ball back into the path of Robbie Butler. His powerful header came crashing back off the crossbar but when the ball fell to Paul Quilty the former Southend player smashed a shot to the roof of the net from eight yards.
Quilty struck the Southend upright on 80 minutes but six minutes later Crystal wrapped up the contest when Joe Watson raced on to a long ball out of defence by Pat Dobbyn and clipped it over the advancing Cliff Kearney.
Waterford Crystal: Derek Hearne, Mitchell Casey, Jimmy Barden, Conor Fell, Pat Dobbyn, Dean Rochford, Martin Tynan, Keith Sheridan, Paul Quilty, Joe Watson, Robbie Butler. Subs: Andrew Power for Sheridan (78 mins), Jason Halloran for Quilty (87 mins).
Southend United: Cliff Kearney, John Starmer, Michael Merrigan, Michael Caulfield, Michael Farrell, Paul Deveraux, Aaron Butler, Barry Phelan, David Croke, Daniel O’Sullivan, Wayne Dunne. Subs: Paddy Carey for Dunne (37 mins), Keith Greene for O’Sullivan (64 mins), Stephen Murphy for Butler (82 mins).
Referee: Tony Walsh.