League of Ireland First Division
Drogheda United 2
Waterford United 1
Waterford United manager Roddy Collins made it clear before this game, which was played in United Park on Friday night last, that he wanted his charges to keep a clean sheet but his plan went out the window after five minutes when the hosts went in front the visitors found it difficult to get back on track and conceded a really soft goal on the stroke of halftime to make matters worse.
However despite those soft goals the Blues came out fighting after the interval and when Eoin Rhodes scored his debut goal one minute into the second half they took the game to the home side but try as they might they just could not find the equaliser and as a result returned home without a point which they certainly deserved.
With less than five minutes on the clock, the Blues found themselves a goal down when Eoin Kirwan turned provider for Sam O’Connor inside the penalty area and after getting the better of the defence, he drilled a low right-footed shot to the left-corner of the net past a helpless Corey Chambers.
Anthony McAlavey nearly levelled the tie on 15 minutes when he got on the end of an excellent Aaron O’Connor delivery from the right deep inside the penalty area but his shot was superbly saved by the leg of Drogheda United keeper Patrick Dunican.
McAlavey continued to cause problems for the home side down the right channel and after he sent in a fine cross looking for the head of Philly Gorman, the centre forward just failed to get on the end of the ball as defender Deasy cleared.
With the half entering injury time, the Blues conceded a second goal when Luke Gallagher whipped in a free kick from the left that wasn’t dealt with by the defence and Eoin Kirwan was on hand to tap home from close range
As the large attendance took their seats for the second half, many missed the goal that brought the Blues back into the game less than 40 seconds in when a long ball from Shane Mackey found Eoin Rhodes and he beat keeper Patrick Dunican with a fine finish from just outside the penalty area.
Rhodes had a great chance to level on the hour mark when he got on the end of a through ball from James O’Brien but his shot from the left-side of the penalty area lacked power as keeper Dunican saved.
Blues keeper Corey Chambers produced a top save to deny Drogheda United a third goal on 70 minutes when a left-wing cross from Luke Gallagher broke to Sean Brennan 30-yards from goal but the netminder dived full length to his right to keep the ball out.
As the Blues continued to press for an equalising goal central defender Ian Sinnott got his head on the end of a McAlavey free kick on 75 minutes but his header was just over the crossbar.
DROGHEDA UNITED: Patrick Dunican, Colm Deasy (Eoghan Dempsey `60), Niall Cooney, Jake Hyland, Sean Brennan (Mark Doyle `88), Sam O’Connor, Derek Doyle, Aaron Molloy, Aaron Ashe (Jamie McGlynn `90), Eoin Kirwan,, Luke Gallagher
WATERFORD UNITED: Corey Chambers, Robbie Buckley (Dean Reidy `82),James Dermody, Ian Sinnott, Shane Mackey, David O’Leary, Aaron O’Connor (Sean Byrne `46), James O’Brien, Philly Gorman,Eoin Rhodes (Dean Broaders `79), Anthony McAlavey
REFEREE: Adriano Reale
“We didn’t turn up in the first half’” Roddy Collins
Matt Keane reports
Waterford United manager Roddy Collins admitted that he was disappointed with the outcome of the league opener against Drogheda but he also looked ahead with confidence to the future. “You don’t get anything from a game if you don’t turn up for the first half. You have to play for the entire 90 minutes but we never got going and we conceded two very soft goals. We changed things tactically at halftime and we controlled the second half without creating a lot of chances but to see Eoin Rhodes scoring was a major plus. We wanted to keep things tight at the back but that plan went out the window after five minutes because we allowed them start their play way up field and Aaron Molloy had a field day but when we spoke at halftime we sorted things out. Their second goal was a killer but we got back into the game and we were doing well until their player Brennan (Sean) put in that tackle on David O’Leary and that broke up our momentum and we became a little bit scrappy after that. We got in some good crosses in the final ten minutes from Dean Broaders and Dean Reidy and with a little bit of luck we could have got a second goal. Sean Byrne came on for the second half and he did well. He is a very good player and remember we have young Roddy and Yoann Fellrath to come into the team soon but the lesson learnt tonight is that you cannot start slow in any game especially away from home. We will work on the bad points and indeed the good points during the coming week and we will be prepared for Limerick next weekend” concluded the Blues boss.