Waterford United 0
Monday night’s game was a throwback to the days when Shelbourne and Waterford United were the top dogs in Irish football.
The result means that Waterford have closed the gap on the leaders Dundalk to four points and are also four clear of Shelbourne.
Despite losing out on two points it will be a confident Waterford team that will head to Longford on Saturday. With 24 points still to play for this promotion race will produce many more twists and turns along the way.
David McAllister shot over the Blues crossbar after 11 minutes after he had met a cross from Mark Rutherford. Packie Holden then did well to hold a hard shot from centre forward Philip Gorman.
In the 33rd minute, Waterford strung a great move together when Karl Bermingham got free out on the right and crossed low into the six yards box to Vinny Sullivan but the Shelbourne central defender Damien Brennan got in a very timely clearance.
David Breen came to Waterford’s rescue on 38 minutes when he got in sliding tackle inside the box to take the ball off Philip Gorman who had met a long pass from Damien Brennan.
Holden raced from his goal five minutes before the interval and lost control of the ball completely but Darren Forsyth hit the side netting from the right with his effort.
Waterford United played some sparkling football when the second half got underway.
On 52 minutes the excellent Kevin Waters picked out Karl Bermingham from the left but the striker shot over the bar.
Sixty seconds later Waters played the ball in low once again to Bermingham who just failed to get a touch in front of goal.
In the 58th minute, Luke Fitzpatrick and Bermingham combined as the Shelbourne defence began to wilt but they somehow managed to clear the ball under severe pressure.
Vinny Sullivan thought he had scored 14 minutes later when he raced forward to meet a pass from Luke Fitzpatrick but for the second time in the game Damien Brennan somehow managed to get in a last ditch tackle to deny the Dungarvan striker.
The penalty award with 12 minutes remaining was hard to understand. Kenny Browne who had replaced the injured David Breen raced with Anto Flood to try and clear his lines following a long ball played forward by David McAllister.
Flood lunged at Browne with his shoulder and knocked the Blues defender to the ground. Most people in Tolka Park thought Graham Kelly had blown for a free out but beyond belief he pointed to the penalty spot.
Anto Flood took the penalty but he hammered the ball off Holden’s left upright and justice was done.
Waterford almost got caught in injury time when a Gary McCabe corner from the right struck Karl Bermingham at the back post. Anto Flood tried to finish off the visitors by sticking out his leg in an attempt to get the ball over the line but all he did was kick the ball wide.
This was Waterford United’s best performance for many a long day and they will play a big part in this league from here until the finish on November 15th. Gareth Cronin said he was proud of his players after the game. He had every right to be proud of them.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Alan Murphy, Robbie Hedderman, Alan Keely, Damien Brennan, David McAllister, David McGill, Mark O’Brien, Philip Gorman, Darren Forsyth, Mark Rutherford.
Subs: James Keddy for Rutherford (60 mins) Anto Flood for Forsyth (60 mins) and Gary McCabe for McGill (68 mins).
Waterford United: Packie Holden, Stephen Quigley, Robbie Clarke, David Breen, John Hayes, Dave Warren, Gary Dunphy, Kieran Fitzgerald, Vinny Sullivan, Karl Bermingham, Kevin Waters.
Subs: Luke Fitzpatrick for Dunphy (h-t) Kenny Browne for Breen (55 mins) David Grincell for Fitzgerald (60 mins).
Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork).