Waterford FC Under-17s stretched their lead at the top of the Under-17 Southern Elite Division with 4-2 win in a brilliant footballing performance away to Cork City at Bishopstown on Tuesday evening.
The start of the contest saw Cork City make their intention clear and they were on the front foot during the early exchanges forcing several corner kicks but the Blues defence held their nerve resolutely to clear the attacking threat of the hosts.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Waterford got their noses in front when Colm Whelan sent in a corner kick form the right that was whipped back by Jack Larkin for Ciaran Brennan and his header was deemed to have crossed the line by an assistant referee.
It got better for the Blues as they added a second goal seconds later when Torik Adegeko intercepted a City attack that saw the defender play the ball forward for Brennan, who skipped past two players before setting up Colm Whelan to round the keeper and slot home from deep inside the penalty area.
As the home side struggled to keep possession, they were punished with a third Waterford goal that really put them in the driving seat on 36 minutes when some good play up the right side through Darragh Power saw the ball brake to Jack Larkin and he controlled the ball to fire home to the bottom left-corner of the net.
Cork City did grab a lifeline back into the game with five minutes remaining on the clock in the first when the Blues failed to clear their lines after a danger delivery into the penalty area and Tomas Collins took full advantage to hammer the ball past keeper Charlie Heffernan.
The second half saw the hosts start strongly and they narrowed the gap with a second goal that came on 52 minutes when left-winger Cian Bargary cut in along the left-side of the penalty area and he hit an unstoppable shot that flew into the right-top hand corner of Heffernan’s goal.
The Blues began to regain control and with 59 minutes on the clock, the Blues forced a corner which was hit deep by Colm Whelan to the back post where the back-peddling Greg Waters somehow managed to head the ball back across the goal into the top corner of the net.
With the Blues settling to break on the counter attack, their defensive performance was fantastic with players giving everything they had to keep the hosts at bay. With Cork forcing a couple of saves from Charlie Heffernan, Colm Whelan created two excellent chances that just flew passed the post and crossbar late on.
The win saw the Blues move four points clear of second-placed Shamrock Rovers, albeit with one more game played.
Waterford FC: Charlie Heffernan, Adam Conway, Greg Waters, Torik Adegoke, Lee Costello, Darragh Power, Jack Larkin (Jack O’Donnell `78), Colm Whelan, Mike Nzongong (Darryl Walsh `55), Dean Beresford, Ciaran Brennan (Sean Tracey `87)