Waterford United 3; Kildare County 1
After surrendering their ten-game unbeaten run the previous week, Waterford United got back to winning ways on Friday night last when they proved much too strong for bottom club Kildare County at the RSC.
With the leaders Dundalk going down unexpectedly to Limerick 37 and Shelbourne losing to Sporting Fingal, Waterford are now in clear second place just two points behind the border club. The Blues are away to third-placed Shelbourne this Friday night in what is shaping up to be a hugely important game for the club.
With John Hayes stricken by the flu-bug and Luke Fitzpatrick suspended, Gareth Cronin was forced to make two changes bringing in Stephen Quigley and Kieran Fitzgerald. United opened brightly and Michael Foley and David Grincell could both have scored in the first 8 minutes. On 24 minutes, a Dave Warren corner from the left was volleyed goalwards by Foley but the ball curled just wide of the far upright.
United opened the scoring on 26 minutes when Kevin Waters played a clever ball to Grincell who placed his pass perfectly between defenders Glenn Walsh and David O’Connor. Displaying a super burst of pace Karl Bermingham surged through the gap and cracked the ball under the body of the advancing goalkeeper Austin O’Neill.
The Blues went two-up on 38 minutes when, out on the left wing, Bermingham touched the ball on to Michael Foley who sent over an in-swinging cross for Dave Warren who executed a wonderful, full-length dive to head the ball into the far corner of the net.
Vinnie Sullivan replaced Grincell on 56 minutes and, seconds later, he almost put the Blues further in front. Foley and Bermingham combined to create the opening but the back-sliding O’Connor somehow took the ball off the line although his momentum could just as easily carried it into the net.
Kildare were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes when Kenny Browne was adjudged to have fouled Trevor Bowers but Packie Holden dived the right way to save Ciaran Kilduff’s kick at the butt of the post.
The Blues should really have added to their account in the 67th minute when Bermingham and Warren executed a superb one-two down the left wing before Bermingham crossed tantalisingly for the waiting Sullivan and Kieran Fitzgerald who both missed the proverbial ‘sitter’.
At this stage the visitors’ goal was under constant pressure and only a double save from two rasping shots by Foley kept the score-line down. A minute later, Foley blazed the ball over the bar.
Sullivan, just back from his honeymoon, did find the net on 85 minutes following a superb pass from Foley but not before Holden had to make a top class save in the home goal from Kilduff.
The visitors got a consolation goal on 92 minutes when Kilduff bundled the ball into the Waterford net following a cross by Cathal Brady from the left.
Waterford United: Packie Holden, Stephen Quigley, Robbie Clarke, David Breen, Kenny Browne, Dave Warren, Kevin Waters, Kieran Fitzgerald (Joe Mulcahy, 69 minutes), Karl Bermingham (Willie John Kiely, 76 minutes), David Grincell (Vinnie Sullivan, 56 minutes) Michael Foley. Subs not used: Gary Dunphy, Ben Spicer.
Scorers: Karl Bermingham 26 minutes; Dave Warren, 38 mins; Vinnie Sullivan, 85 mins
Kildare County: Austin O’Neill, Craig Mooney, Greg Kilkenny, Colin Osbourne, Colin Fortune (Eoin Kavanagh, 49 minutes), Glen Walsh, David O’Connor, Barry Slattery, Ger Robinson (Trevor Bowers, 57 minutes), Ciaran Kilduff, Baba Issaka (Cathal Brady, 87 minutes). Subs not used: Murray, Treacy.
Scorers: Ciaran Kilduff 92 minutes
Referee: Conor Fitzgerald, Dublin.