League of Ireland, Premier Division
Waterford FC 0
Dundalk defeated Waterford FC for the fifth time this season when they came out on top by the only goal of the game at the RSC on Friday night last. Manager Alan Reynolds made four changes from the team that defeated Bohemians 2-1 in Dalymount Park the previous week.
Rob Slevin, J.J Lunney, Cory Galvin and Michael O’Connor came in for Kenny Browne, Maxi Kouogun, William Fitzgerald and Walter Figueira.
The Blues played well during the early stages of the game and at times during the second period but a mistake by Rob Slevin after 38 minutes proved costly and the top-class visitors took full advantage when Daniel Kelly, who scored a hat-trick against the Blues in the FAI Cup two weeks previously, duly stuck the ball past Matthew Connor.
This was an excellent display by the Blues and with four games remaining (Sligo Rovers and UCD at home and St Patrick’s Athletic and Finn Harps away) a relegation play-off game should be out of the question.
The Blues had a good chance to take the lead on 12 minutes when Tom Holland picked out Michael O’Connor with a brilliant through ball, but despite a poor first touch, the striker got his shot away, but it was saved by Gary Rogers. Sam Bone should have done better with a chance three minutes later.Georgie Poynton whipped in a free kick to the on-loan Shamrock Rovers player, but he just failed to connect with the ball from close-range. Matt Connor produced a top save on 25 minutes when he turned a Jamie McGrath free kick, after a foul by Rory Feely, around the posts. Referee Derek Tomney awarded a goal kick much to the dismay of the Dundalk players.
Cory Galvin was the next player to go close for the home side on the half hour mark.
Zack Elbouzedi sent in a cross to Michael O’Connor who pulled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area for Galvin, but his goal-bound effort was deflected over by Dundalk’s Chris Shields.Michael Duffy went close for the visitors on 34 minutes when he latched onto the ball after Sam Bone’s clearance fell into his path, but he blazed over the bar.
Dundalk took the lead under a cloud of controversy four minutes later.
Referee Tomney waved play on after Pat Hoban and Rob Slevin were involved in a challenge.
Hoban managed to skip clear and crossed for Daniel Kelly who scored his fourth goal in two games against the Blues when he fired past Matt Connor from close-rangeA foul on Michael O’Connor by Dundalk midfielder Robbie Benson gave Zack Elbouzedi the chance to test keeper Gary Rogers from a 25-yards free kick on 54 minutes, but the effort from the Irish Under 21 International went over the bar. Daniel Kelly could have grabbed a second goal for Dundalk four minutes later, but Blues defender Kevin Lynch was in the right place to block his shot.
In a very disappointing second half, the crowd of 989 had to wait until the 86th minute for the first save of note when Patrick McEleney raced at the Waterford defence and cracked in a shot from 20 yards that Matt Connor saved.The Blues had a big chance at the other end seconds later.Walter Figueira slipped the ball into the path of the inrushing Shane Duggan, but his right-footed shot was straight at Gary Rogers.Sam Bone has an effort blocked late on as the champions elect held out for another three points.