Waterford United 1; Monaghan United 1
Waterford United slipped up in their bid for promotion at the RSC on Friday night last when a determined Monaghan United came from behind to earn a deserved draw. Unfortunately, the other main contenders, Dundalk and Shelbourne, gained further ground on the Blues by wining their games.
In truth, either Waterford or Monaghan could have won the game as good scoring opportunities were squandered at both ends so a share of the spoils was probably a fair result. That said, the Blues were reduced to ten men early in the second half in what was a rather harsh call by referee Neil Doyle of Dublin.
When Monaghan visited the RSC earlier in the season, they received a 5-0 drubbing but there was no danger of that happening on this occasion and Friday night’s home game against Wexford Youths now becomes a vital, must-win fixture.
Apart from a long-range effort by Don Tierney that flew over the home bar on 13 minutes, United had the best of the first half but there was still an element of luck attached to their goal on 24 minutes.
Dave Warren lofted a tantalising probe into the area and goalkeeper Danny Woods raced off his line to head the ball over the approaching Karl Bermingham’s head. But the ball ricocheted off defender Conor McMahon back towards goal and Bermingham won the race for possession before stabbing the ball into the net.
The Blues almost went further ahead in the 38th. minute when Vinnie Sullivan shaved the top of the opposition’s crossbar with a header from a Robbie Clarke cross.
Down to ten men
Waterford were reduced to ten men on 49 minutes when Stephen Quigley received a straight red card for a tackle on Barry Clancy. Most people thought a yellow card would have sufficed and, two minutes later, Clancy was lively enough to provide the cross from the back post that Daragh Hanaphy crashed home through a crowded goalmouth for the equaliser.
The Blues should have regained the lead five minutes later but the unmarked Michael Foley headed a Robbie Clarke cross wide from close range with the goal at his mercy and, soon after, Woods produced the save of the night to deny Vinnie Sullivan.
On 72 minutes Monaghan launched a determined attack down the left wing that ended with Eoin Lannigan blazing wildly over the bar from close range when he had unmarked players screaming for the ball. Three minutes later, at the other end, Sullivan headed wide from a good scoring position following a cross from Kevin Waters.
Monaghan found a higher gear in the final ten minutes of the game and only a superb tackle by David Breen on 82 minutes prevented Lannigan from breaking clean through. A minute later, Packie Holden conjured up a great save to deny Lannigan and, two minutes into injury time, Holden stretched to make a vital interception to cut out a dangerous cross from Don Tierney.
Waterford United: Packie Holden, Stephen Quigley, Robbie Clarke, David Breen, Kenny Brown, Dave Warren (David Grincell, 64 minutes), JohnHayes (Kieran Fitzgerald, 56 minutes), Kevin Waters, Vinnie Sullivan (Willie John Kiely, 88 minutes), Karl Bermingham, Michael Foley. Substitutes not used: Gary Dunphy, Ben Spicer.
Scorer: Karl Bermingham 24 minutes
Monaghan United: Danny Woods, Paul Whelan, Barry Clancy, Conor McMahon, Aaron Mooney, Don Tierney, Brian Gartland, Stephen McCrossan, Darragh Hanaphy (Eoin Lannigan, 69 minutes), Cathal O’Connor (Keiran Reilly, 75 minutes), Sean Brennan. Substitutes not used: Kevin Williamson, James Hand, Ronan McGann.
Scorer: Daragh Hanaphy 51 minutes
Referee: Neil Doyle, Dublin.