Waterford FC Under-17s remain unbeaten in the Southern Elite Division after a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to Bray Wanderers on Saturday.
Played on a glorious Saturday afternoon last at the RSC, John Furlong and Gary Hunt’s Blues side took 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Colm Whelan and Ciaran Brennan but they had to show their battling qualities as a late challenge from the Seagulls just came up short.
Played their third game in the space of a week, Waterford had to withstand nine added second half minutes, but overcame the challenge to remain top of the table.
Ciaran Brennan created the first chance of the game on five minutes when the attacker raced clear on goal on the left-side but visiting keeper Dylan Davis stood tall to keep out his shot and from the resulting Colm Whelan left-wing corner kick, Adam Conway headed wide at the back post.
The visitors had a chance to go in front on 16 minutes when Eoin Darcy played the ball out to the left channel for Sean O’Brien but his first-time, left-footed shot flew over Charlie Heffernan’s crossbar before the Blues struck for the lead goal with 28 minutes on the clock.
Colm Whelan, the Blues in-form striker, intercepted a back pass from Cian Maher and after the striker rounded the advancing Bray keeper Dylan Davis, he slipped a right-footed shot to the far corner of the net from an acute angle.
Things got even better for the Blues as they doubled their lead less than two minutes later when a magnificent touch from Jack Larkin from the left side of the penalty area played the ball into the path of striker Brennan and he hammered an unstoppable effort to the back of the net.
Whelan was denied his second goal of the game on 59 minutes when he took a pass from Dean Beresford on the right-side of the area but his shot was superbly kept out by keeper Dylan Davis before Blues defender Darragh Power did superbly well at the other end to block out an effort from Eoin Darcy.
It was the post that kept Waterford from adding a third goal on 61 minutes when Jack Larkin split the Bray defence with an excellent through ball that set up Colm Whelan on the right-side of the area but his angled effort came crashing back off the near post.
Jack O’Donnell headed a Whelan corner kick over the bar on 74 minutes before Bray Wanderers did get on the scoresheet to set up a nervy finish six minutes later when Darragh Barry headed home a right-wing delivery from Byran O’Gorman.
Charlie Heffernan made a smart save to keep out an effort from Aaron Byrne soon afterwards before Ciaran Brennan nearly sealed the deal late on but his angled effort was just wide as the young Blues held out for another win.
Waterford FC: Charlie Heffernan, Darragh Power, Greg Waters, Adam Conway, Torik Adegoke, Dean Beresford, Mike Nzongong, Jack Larkin, Ciaran Brennan, Colm Whelan, Lee Costello, Jack O’Donnell, Kallum Broaders, Sean Tracey, Oisin Knox, Brendan Kirwan, Regix Madika
Bray Wanderers: Dylan Davis, Cian Maher, Jamie Crilly, Liam Moore, Jake Byrne, Aaron Hennessy, Sean O’Brien, Cian Walsh, Eoin Darcy, Daniel Modaghigian, Darragh Kelly, Aaron Byrne, Evan Dunne, Byran O’Gorman, Glenn Hollywood, Conor Dowling, Alex Nevin
Referee: Gavin Keyes assisted by John Falconer and Brian Bartley.