Shelbourne 1; Waterford United 0
A jaded looking Waterford United team slipped to their second consecutive league defeat at the hands of Shelbourne in Tolka Park on Friday last.
Shels, who defeated the Blues (1-0) in the first league game between the sides at the RSC, appeared a lot fresher especially during the second half and very few United supporters could have any complaints about the outcome.
Last week, Stephen Henderson’s men lost at home to Wexford Youths and although they did win the Munster Senior Cup on Tuesday week last they were keen to get back to winning ways in the league.
They went into the game as league leaders, but following this defeat, allied to victories for Sporting Fingal and UCD they are now out of the top three for the first time this season.
The game was marred by a terrible injury to the Shelbourne midfielder Mark O’Brien in the very first minute, who clashed in mid-air with Blues defender Seamus Long.
As a result, the game was held up for 10 minutes as medical staff attended the stricken former Shamrock Rovers player.
He was replaced by David McAllister, who was to cause all sorts of problems to the Waterford defence during the remainder of the contest.
Waterford can now take a break from the league as they play an FAI Cup game this Saturday, and going on their last two displays, that break will be welcomed by the players and manager alike.
Paddy Madden, who scored the only goal of the game when the teams met back in March produced a save from Michael Devine after 26 minutes.
David McAllister got to the right end line after 32 minutes before pulling the ball back to three Shelbourne attackers but the Waterford defence somehow managed to block the shots which came from the red shirted players. Waterford’s best move arrived after 37 minutes when Graham Cummins played in Willie John Kiely who let fly from inside the penalty area only for the former Blues goalkeeper, Dean Delaney to produce a fine save by diving to his left.
Kiely did have a half chance shortly afterwards and just before the interval, Paddy Madden shot wide following good work by David Cassidy.
The sun which blazed down during the opening 45 minutes disappeared completely for the second period and so did the reasonably good form which Waterford displayed in that period.
And it was Shelbourne who scored the only goal of the game on 52 minutes after Alan Carey was adjudged to have fouled Paddy Madden just outside the left side of the penalty area.
Shels’ left full-back David Crawley took the free which found the unmarked Anto Flood, who had no difficulty whatsoever heading past Michael Devine from close range.
The home side almost doubled their advantage three minutes later when Kevin Doherty made contact with a corner kick taken from the right by David Crawley but his back header went inches wide with Michael Devine scrambling across his line.
Willie John Kiely had a decent enough chance on 69 minutes but didn’t make proper contact in front of goal.
Alan Carey took an effort from Paddy Madden off the line on 75 minutes and with the Waterford team all at sea, Kevin Doherty shot over the crossbar after Devine had punched a corner kick taken by David Crawley clear.
This was not a good day at the office for Stephen Henderson and his men. On this performance perhaps a new face or two is required to freshen up what is a tired and small squad.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Stephen Quigley, David Crawley, Robbie Hedderman, Kevin Doherty, Mark O’Brien, David McGill, David Cassidy, Paddy Madden, Anto Flood, Derek Doyle. Subs: David McAllister for O’Brien (10 mins) Peter Hynes for Madden (78 mins).
Waterford United: Michael Devine, Alan Carey, Seamus Long, Kevin Murray, Kenny Browne, John Kearney, Gary Dunphy, Paul McCarthy, Willie John Kiely, Graham Cummins, Kevin Waters.
Subs: David Grincell for Dunphy (70 mins) Declan Woodgate for Long (83 mins).
Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin)