Waterford Utd 2 Kildare County 0
Waterford United wasted a hatful of opportunities in front of goal before they finally saw off bottom club Kildare County in their final home fixture of the season at the RSC on Saturday night last.
Kildare had already conceded 78 goals going into the game and it soon appeared as if they were in for a drubbing from the Blues.
United could have clocked up a double-figure scoreline in this game but such was their wastage in front of goal that one can only describe the game as a comedy of errors.
However, the 214 loyal fans who paid through the gate had plenty to cheer about before the kick-off when it was announced that Stephen Henderson was to continue as manager for another year at least.
It was a very popular move as far as the fans were concerned and, for the first time in quite a while, United has a manager who can go about his business and attempt to build a team from the last day of the season as opposed to a rushed effort just weeks before a new campaign begins.
Another important statistic worthy of note at the end of the game was that, with only one game to go, Kevin Murray had played every minute of every game this season.
He started every game, was never injured and was never substituted. If he sees out the last game away to UCD this weekend he may well have created a record and has certainly played his way into the affections of the fans.
Waterford United, with a small squad and limited resources mounted a serious assault on the Championship.
The players always had pride in their jersey and with a little bit of luck could have been involved in the play-offs for promotion.
It wasn’t to be but, all in all, it was a great effort by all concerned, on and off the pitch, and thanks to a lot of hard work by a dedicated group of people, senior soccer is still alive and kicking in Waterford.
As far as the game was concerned, it really was a succession of pot-shots and goalmouth melees that should have garnered a heavy harvest of goals for the Blues.
It was an end of season match with nothing at stake only pride but, in fairness, the players wanted to score and their frustration was clearly visible.
One of the problems throughout the campaign was United’s inability to put away a respectable proportion of the chances they worked so hard to create and Saturday night’s performance underlined that situation.
To the groans of the crowd, Vinnie Sullivan and Willie John Kiely topped the list of would-be scorers but Gary Dunphy, John Kearney, Kevin Waters and Seamus Long also had chances that went a-begging.
Within a minute of coming on for Kiely, Dave Warren was presented with a golden opportunity by Waters but it went the way of all the rest.
Waterford United: Michael Devine, Alan Carey, Kevin Murray, Kenny Browne, John Kearney, Paul Walsh, Seamus Long (Stephen Grant, 92 minutes), Gary Dunphy (Kieran Fitzgerald, 82 minutes), Kevin Waters, Vinnie Sullivan, Willie John Kiely (Dave Warren, 70 minutes).
Substitutes not used: Declan Woodgate and Kevin Burns.
Kildare County: Darren Kelly (Sean Geoghegan, 84 minutes), Keith Walsh (Pierce O’Connor, 84 minutes), Eoghan Powderly, Liam Tiernan, David Byrne, Craig Purcell (John Cashen, 84 minutes), Christy Doran, David Jackson, Colm Daly, Philip Hughes, Trevor Bowers.
Substitutes not used: Cathal Brady and Colin Coleman.
Referee: Stuart Templeman (Kerry).