League of Ireland First Division
Waterford United 2
Waterford United are beginning to like Dublin.
The previous week they defeated UCD and on Saturday night last they came back from the capital with another three points after a classy display against Cabinteely.
The win has moved them into second place behind the leaders Limerick.
The match was played on a bumpy surface and the home of the Stradbrook Rugby Club certainly does not lend itself to football.
It is in fact dangerous and the majority of players expressed that view after the match. Next up for the Blues is a home game against Munster rivals Cobh Ramblers at the RSC on Friday.
Playing against the aid of the gale force breeze in the first half the Blues produced a top performance as they limited the home side to very few goalscoring opportunities with keeper Kevin Burns thwarting any chances that came their way.
Blues keeper Kevin Burns came to his sides rescue at the other end less than sixty seconds later when Aaron Brilly broke into the penalty area on the right side but his effort was saved before Colum Nugent cleared the loose ball to the safety of the sideline.
The final chance of a first half that was ruined by the strong breeze and poor playing surface came in the final minute when David O’Leary did well outside the area to pull the ball onto his favoured right-foot however his effort was just wide of the left hand post.
Colum Nugent went close to breaking the deadlock with the first chance of the second half on 49 minutes when he got his head on the end of a McGuire corner kick but his free header was just wide of Michael Kelly’s upright.
David O’Leary struck for the opening goal on 51 minutes when he met a headed clearance on the volley to power an unstoppable right-footed effort to the net from just outside the area.
Blues keeper Kevin Burns came to his sides’ rescue sixty seconds later when Colum Nugent conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area but although Ben Hanrahan’s right-footed free kick looked destine for the top left corner, the netminder somehow managed to turn the ball out for a fruitless corner kick.
The Blues stretched their lead on the hour mark when a superb delivery from the right from Robbie Buckley met the head of captain Philly Gorman, who rose highest to give keeper Michael Kelly little chance with a fine header from six yards.
James O’Brien should have added to the Blues tally two minutes from time when he stepped over a free kick on the edge of the penalty area after a Cabinteely defender handled but after the ball came crashing back off the left hand post, Eoin Rhodes somehow managed to head the close range rebound over the bar.
CABINTEELY: Michael Kelly, Karl Byrne, Kevin Knight, Andrew Wall (Lee Mitchell `86), Edward McDonagh, Aaron Brilly, Joseph Doyle, Oscar Brennan, Ben Hanrahan, Stephen Hanley (Shane Boyle `80), Michael Brown (Shane Heffernan `71)
WATERFORD UNITED: Kevin Burns, Robbie Buckley, Sean Byrne, Ian Sinnott, Colum Nugent, David O’Leary (Dean Reidy `69), James O’Brien, Darren Murphy, Philly Gorman, Anthony McAlavey (Aaron O’Connor `63), Dylan McGuire (Eoin Rhodes `55)
REFEREE: Robert Rogers (Dublin)
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Matt Keane reports
Speaking after the game the Blues boss said, “You don’t expect to win any ground but on the worst surface that I have ever, ever, ever, ever seen in a League of Ireland ground and obviously with the wind contributing to the game, it was always going to be a battle.
It was very unfair on both sets of players to play in conditions like that and on a pitch like that.
“It was always tonight about how you get three points out of the game, it really doesn’t matter how so it’s good to get them and that’s what it was. It’s also great to get a clean sheet and if you get that becoming a habit, it builds a bit of confidence in the squad.
“Philly Gorman banging in a goal again is great. I thought that the delivery from Robbie Buckley was absolutely brilliant. That’s what we said in the dressing room at half time that we weren’t going to play balls through the middle because the wind would carry it on so we needed to go diagonal with our play.
“It was great to see David O’Leary get a goal and I felt that he took it superbly well. We should have got a three goal as well with the James O’Brien free kick before a great clearance by Eoin Rhodes for them! The second half performance was what we needed in those conditions.
“Anthony (McAlavey) wasn’t going to play but I didn’t want to be break the momentum from last week so he played through the pain barrier but we had no choice only to take him off. David O’Leary twisted his ankle on that horrible surface and we had no option but to withdraw him as well
“I have to say that our supporters were brilliant again tonight and I’m so proud of them. It’s not easy when you have a minute’s silence and there are young fans involved but the respect that these fans showed may be really proud of them representing our club.
“I just want to confirm as well that my appeal against the six game ban that I received from the FAI during the week has gone through so we’ll just sit and wait on that one. I think that anyone who was here tonight in Stradbrook and saw the surface that we had to play on, couldn’t argue to what I have to say.”