League of Ireland Premier Division
Waterford FC 1 Shamrock Rovers 2
A late late goal denied Waterford FC a point from the opening game of the season against Shamrock Rovers at the RSC last Friday night. Rovers were denied the opening goal of the 2019 season after less than sixty seconds when the ball broke for Dylan Watts, but his shot was well kept out by keeper Matthew Connor.Less than two minutes later the Waterford keeper tipped a Sean Kavanagh free kick around the posts.Waterford struck for the first goal on 22 minutes when Shane Duggan was brought down 25-yards from goal and Kevin Lynch gave Rovers keeper Alan Mannus no chance whatsoever with a superbly struck free kick.
Dylan Watts brought a good save out of Blues keeper Matthew Connor on 36 minutes when his shot from distance took a bobble in front of the keeper which forced the Blues netminder to divert the ball out for a corner.Blues defender Kevin Lynch produced a brilliant block to deny Rovers the equalising goal in the final minute of the half when Dan Carr’s close range effort after a Sean Kavanagh free kick was superbly diverted out for a corner kick.Izzy Akinade nearly grabbed a second goal for the home side seconds later when he cut in from the right-side of the area, but the striker’s angled effort that beat Alan Mannus came back off the near post.
Ronan Finn went agonisingly close to levelling the tie on 52 minutes when he got on the end of a cross from Dan Carr, but his right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area whistled inches wide of Connor’s near post.Rovers pegged their hosts back just three minutes later when the Blues failed to clear their lines and Carr passed to Aaron Greene, who swept home from close-range.Dylan Watts could have put Rovers in front when he cut through the home defence on 58 minutes but his shot from just outside the area went the wrong side of the left-hand post with Connor beaten.
Waterford nearly regained the lead in crazy circumstances five minutes later.Matthew Connor’s long clearance almost found Aaron Drinan, but Roberto Lopes nearly put the ball through his own net when trying to clear.Alan Mannus pulled off a stunning save to deny the Blues the lead on 73 minutes.Rory Feely found Izzy Akinade with a brilliant cross but his first-time right-footed volley was superbly kept out by the visiting goalkeeper. With the game looking certain to end in stalemate, there was injury time heartache for the Blues as Trevor Clarke’s right-wing corner kick wasn’t cleared by the home defence and Ethan Boyle drilled the ball past Matthew Connor from deep inside the area. The Waterford players fell to the ground in despair and the Blues supporters left the venue totally disappointed and baffled by what unfolded in those dying seconds.