Waterford United 1
Wexford Youths 0
Waterford United maintained their bid for promotion and preserved their unbeaten league run at the RSC on Friday night last when they defeated a fast-running and physically strong Wexford Youths by the only goal of the match.
The Blues squandered a first-half penalty chance and didn’t really click into gear until the second period although they had to depend on yet another penalty opportunity to secure the points.
Second in the table going into this game, United were eight points behind the leaders Dundalk with two games in hand. By accounting for Wexford, their rescheduled game against third-placed Shelbourne, played at Tolka Park on Monday, took on even greater significance. See report of that tie elsewhere on this page.
With Stephen Quigley and Kevin Waters both suspended, manager Gareth Cronin was forced to make changes to the side that drew against Monaghan the previous week. In fact, the manager went further and made four alterations in total by dropping Vinnie Sullivan and Kenny Browne to the substitutes bench and introducing Gary Dunphy and David Grincell to the starting line-up.
The vital goal eventually arrived from the penalty spot on 78 minutes when Anto Russell took down Joe Mulcahy as he raced into the area and Dunphy crashed the ball into the net with a fierce drive.
The Blues should have taken the lead on 25 minutes when a brilliant run towards goal by Grincell was unceremoniously stopped by a clumsy tackle from Patsy Malone inside the area. But Dave Warren’s much too casual penalty-kick went wide of the upright.