Mervue United 0; Waterford United 2
Following two home wins on the bounce against Limerick and Finn Harps, Waterford United were raging hot favourites to defeat second from bottom Mervue United in Terryland Park on Saturday last, but for 81 minutes it looked as if they would drop points in their quest to regain second place on the league table.
However, strikers David Grincell and Graham Cummins struck to keep the Blues on course for promotion and in doing so broke the hearts of the brave Co Galway side who really put it up to United.
This was not a vintage display by any means by Stephen Henderson’s men but nevertheless they got what they wanted and as a result they remain just two points behind the leaders Shelbourne. The side showed one change from the one which defeated Finn Harps the previous Tuesday. David Grincell, who scored in that game played up front with Graham Cummins because Willie John Kiely did not travel due to a dead leg picked up against Harps.
Waterford opened up brightly enough with John Kearney playing the ball forward to Grincell but ‘Man of the Match’ Damien O’Rourke took the ball off his foot inside the penalty area. The United goalkeeper, Michael Devine was called into action four minutes later.
Nicky Curran fired in a free kick from all of 35 yards with the aid of a strong breeze but Devine brilliantly tipped the ball over his crossbar. Play got very scrappy until the 27th minute when Mervue’s Mark Ludden got in a fine cross from the right but Damien O’Rourke headed over the bar from 10 yards.
Waterford tried to get their act together during the remainder of the first period but it just was not happening for them.
The Blues went straight into attacking action during the opening two minutes of the second half. Paul Walsh sent over a corner kick from the left but Kenny Browne was unable to keep his header on target and shortly afterwards David Grincell ran to the far post to meet a cross from Walsh but he headed wide.
Seamus Long had begun the move in the middle of the park. Michael Devine came to Waterford’s rescue once again after 69 minutes.
Mark Ludden took a pass from Gary Traynor and cut in from the left. His well struck low shot looked a goal all over but somehow Devine managed to claw the ball of his line before diving to recover with David Golbdbey closing in for the kill.
Mervue were dreadfully unlucky once again on 75 minutes. Mark Ludden sent over a corner kick from the left. The ball reached the far post but substitute Mike Tierney somehow managed to strike the post from four yards.
With ten minutes remaining things were looking bleak for the Blues but Stephen Grant who had replaced Paul Walsh earlier made his mark in the middle of the pitch. Dave Warren had moved out wide right. Grant fired in a blistering shot from 20 yards. The Mervue goalkeeper Eoin Martin saved superbly and then he saved from John Kearney and David Grincell as the ball bounced around inside the penalty area.
At long last Waterford United had awoken from their slumber and they broke the deadlock on 81 minutes. Stephen Grant sprayed the ball out wide left to Kevin Waters who pulled the ball back before crossing to the back post where David Grincell was waiting to touch the ball home from close range. It was the first time he had got free from Damien O’Rourke.
The second goal was beautifully taken. Kevin Waters played a delicate ball over the Mervue defence and Graham Cummins gleefully hammered home his 15th league goal on the run from 10 yards. A vital victory for Waterford. It was not pretty but the records will show another excellent away win for Stephen Henderson’s side.