Perhaps it was the prospect of making it to the top of the league, but what ever the reason Waterford United did not play very well on Friday night last. In all honesty they were extremely poor considering the fact that they had been excellent in the previous two away games against Shelbourne and Longford Town.

Blues boss Gareth Cronin found it hard to come to grips with his sides performance against an Athlone Town outfit who have taken an incredible 8 points from his team this season. Clearly angry, Cronin did not pull any punches after the game had reached its conclusion. “There were a few factors tonight. We did not play at all in the first half. All we did was hump the ball forward and hope for the best. We improved in the second half and we ripped them apart but we missed a few sitters which we should have taken.

“I felt the referee was awful also. The Athlone players were more interested in stopping us from playing rather than performing for their own team. They will lose to Kildare County next week, just you wait and see. During the game their players were shouting ‘Come on Dundalk’ and ‘We hope Shelbourne pip you for the league’. It was crazy stuff. That is not want you want from footballers because they are supposed to be adults.

“I don’t know if there is a history between Athlone and Waterford but this was ridiculous. They have come here twice this season and drawn. They would want to take a good look at themselves. How the referee could see David Grincell handle the ball I just don’t know. He was yards behind the player. During the course of the game I thought it was only his right hand was working because he gave them everything. He did not play advantage either. Something similar happened in Tolka Park two weeks ago.

“Having said all that we were not good enough tonight. The only time we looked like doing anything was when Gary Dunphy got on the ball. Our final ball was poor. I don’t know whether it was tiredness or what. It is impossible to play against a team who play ten players behind the ball. Their players took ages to take corner kicks, free kicks. When I threw the ball back to one of their players he allowed the ball go over his head just to waste more time.

“It is over now however and now we must focus on Sporting Fingal next week. We will go their positive and if we win it will put an end to their promotion. At least they will play football,” concluded a dreadfully unhappy Waterford United manager.