Blues seal first elusive away victory in Galway
Galway Utd 1: Waterford Utd 2
Waterford United moved out of the bottom two and in the process leap-frogged Galway United on the league table following a bruising battle in Terryland Park on Friday night last.
Tempers flared during the closing minutes as the Blues dug in for victory against a side who have yet to record an away win in league football this season. Something had to give in this game because Waterford had not won an away game all season. Victory for Galway would have moved them five points clear of Gareth Cronin’s men, so it was a must win for both outfits.
Waterford went into the game with only two points secured from their previous 10 away games this season. Dave Mulcahy, who returned to Waterford during the week leading up to this contest following his not so happy departure from St Patrick’s Athletic, was given the captain’s armband by Gareth Cronin and the Kilkenny native certainly played his part in this huge victory. He was strong in the middle of the park all through and his presence appeared to lift all around him.
Following the 90-plus minutes it was Vinny Sullivan however who was cheered off the field by the loyal Waterford followers who made the long journey to Dyke Road. The Dungarvan-born striker was the player who scored the only goal of the game when the sides met back in May and again he displayed his undoubted talent in this match.
His winning strike will surely be a contender for Goal of the Month or perhaps goal of the season. Sullivan displayed magnificent composure as he stroked the ball past the Galway goalkeeper Gary Rogers. This was a much required win for a Blues team who will now have five home games in six weeks, including a cup game with in-form Sligo Rovers.
Needless to say Gareth Cronin was a very happy man when he spoke after the game. ‘The entire team displayed a lot of passion and indeed character. Every player played his part. I was really delighted when they refused to buckle when Galway took the lead and to get back on level terms so quickly was proof of the fight they showed.
‘They all battled for each other and when Gary Rogers appeared to push Vinny Sullivan near the end they all made sure that the goalkeeper would not repeat his act during the remaining minutes. It was a very spirited display and what we must do now is to build on this performance and begin to pull away from trouble. Dave Mulcahy gave the side good shape in the middle of the park and it was clear to see that he was very happy to be back with the club.
‘Willie John Kiely did a lot of running off the ball for us tonight and he will prove to be a good partner for Vinny (Sullivan) during the remainder of the season. Vinny has had his critics this season for not scoring goals but it is not easy for him with the formation we have to play at times.
‘He is a class striker and he proved that in this game. We are all very pleased to have secured that away win at long last and now we just cannot wait for the visit of Shamrock Rovers next Friday,’ Cronin added.
There was a very strong breeze blowing in Terryland Park although and it appeared to take its toll during a rather dull opening 45 minutes. Regi Nooitmeer laid the ball off to Derek Glynn after 6 minutes but Deal Delaney saved his shot without any great deal of difficulty.Regi Nooitmeer was involved once again on 34 minutes, this time releasing Sean Fagan who could not keep his effort on target.
Derek O’Brien tried his luck with two long range efforts also. There was a moment of worry for Waterford on 41 minutes when Derek Glynn got in behind David Breen and Kenny Browne following a pass from Barry Moran but Dean Delaney was aware of what was happening and he came out to collect the ball and put an end to the danger.
Just before half time Dave Mulcahy very nearly gave the visitors the lead with a well drilled shot from outside the penalty are but the ball went over Gary Rogers crossbar.
Galway took the lead on 48 minutes in unfortunate circumstances from a Waterford point of view. Barry Moran swung over a cross from the left which almost got away from the Blues goalkeeper Dean Delaney but he just managed to palm the ball away but it hit Robbie Hedderman and the ball finished up in the back of the Waterford net.
Waterford fought back superbly and they got back on level terms five minutes later. David Breen came forward from his central defender’s role when referee Derek Tomney awarded the Blues a free kick which was taken by Cathal Lordan from the right, Breen rose like an eagle to head the ball into the far corner of the Galway net.
Vinny Sullivan scored his brilliant goal on 73 minutes. The ball broke lose 40 yards from goal and when Sullivan took off on a strong solo run, Willie John Kiely ran across the Galway defensive line, taking two defenders with him and that allowed Sullivan the chance to draw Gary Rogers and place the ball into the back of the Galway union sack. Apart form Kiely’s movement, Sullivan also had to shake off a raft of tackles before applying the finish. Brilliant stuff indeed.
The only answer Galway had after that goal were a few long rang efforts from Derek O’Brien. Punches were thrown when Gary Rogers clashed with Vinny Sullivan on 81 minutes and then Dave Mulcahy appeared to be pushed over a surrounding wall as players of both sides got involved in another melee but all well that ends well and Waterford held on for a vital victory and three huge points which could very well keep them above the relegation places come November.
Four Waterford players were booked during the course of the game, namely, David Breen, Robbie Hedderman, Vinny Sullivan and Dave Mulcahy. Sean Fagan and Regi Nooitmoor were booked on the Galway side.
Galway United: Gary Rogers, Regi Nooitmeer, John Fitzgerald, Wesley Charles (Cieran Foley 78 mins) Alan Keane, Sean Fagan, John Lester, Alan Murphy (Greg O’Halloran, H-T), Derek O’Brien, Derek Glynn, Barry Moran (Vinny Flaherty, 66 mins).
Waterford United: Dean Delaney, Patrick Flynn, David Breen, Kenny Browne, Robbie Hedderman, Cathal Lordan (Daryl Kavanagh, 54 mins) Dave Warren, Dave Mulcahy, Paul McCarthy, Willie John Kiely (Robert Brosnan, 89 mins) Vinny Sullivan.
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin)
Blues seal first elusive away victory in Galway