Waterford FC extended their lead at the top of the First Division table after a 2-1 win at home to Wexford FC on Friday evening. Dean Kelly had given Wexford a first-half lead but goals from David McDaid and Mark O’Sullivan ensured the Blues came away with a 2-1 win.
Sean Heaney, who was making his debut for the Blues, could have got off the mark with his first goal on two minutes when he got his head on the end of a left-wing Anthony McAlavey free kick but his close-range header was blocked out for a corner kick.
The Blues had a great chance to go in front on ten minutes when Patrick McClean picked out Kenny Browne with a neat pass and his sublime through ball set Conor Whittle free down the right side but his right-footed shot was turned out for a corner kick by Wexford keeper Corey Chambers.
It was Chambers that came to his sides rescue on 17 minutes when Derek Daly was fouled out on the left-side of the penalty area and the netminder just got back in time to tip Anthony McAlavey’s dipping effort over the bar. Mark O’Sullivan’s header from the resulting corner kick was kept out by the visiting defence.
With the Blues in control of the tie, it was Garry Comerford that got his head on the end of a brilliant Kenny Browne cross from the right at the back post on 35 minutes but his header was clawed around the posts by Chambers.
Wexford FC took the lead against the run of play on 44 minutes when Aaron Dobbs took a pass from Andrew O’Connor on the left-side of the area before squaring the all across the goalmouth for Dean Kelly to fire home from deep inside the area.
The Blues introduced David McDaid at the start of the second half and he nearly had an immediate impact when the striker took a pass from Derek Daly on the left-side of the area but his low near post shot was turned around the posts for a fruitless corner kick.
Waterford did draw level from the penalty spot on 59 minutes when John Martin did superbly well down the right before he was tripped by visiting defender Ross Kenny and it was McDaid that sent Chambers the wrong way from 12 yards.
It was a fine save from Chambers two minutes later that denied the Blues the lead goal when John Martin showed his class again out on the right-side to slip the ball in for David McDaid but his well struck shot was tipped over.
With the hosts with their tails up after coming back level, it was Derek Daly got free down the left channel on 65 minutes but with McDaid and Anthony McAlavey unmarked inside a crowded, he opted to drill the ball across the area that went wide of the far post.
The Blues were celebrating the lead goal in the tie two minutes later when a magnificent left-wing corner kick from Derek Daly found the head of Mark O’Sullivan and he powered an unstoppable header past Chambers from six yards.
It was a goal that sent the 1508 home faithful wild and although Wexford FC did cause a couple of nervy moments in the Blues defence in the final ten minutes, they never looked like getting a goal as other results in the division means that Waterford move six points clear at the summit of the table.
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor, Conor Whittle (Robin Dempsey `90), Kenny Browne, Patrick McClean, Sean Heaney, Anthony McAlavey, Garry Comerford (David McDaid `46), Shane O’Connor, John Martin, Derek Daly, Mark O’Sullivan (Dean O’Halloran `86)
Wexford FC: Corey Chambers, Craig McCabe (Andrew O’Connor `28), AJ Lehane, Ross Kenny, Owen McCormack, Mikey Byrne, Danny Doyle, Aaron O’Connor (Shane Dunne `73), Aaron Dobbs, Eoin Porter, Dean Kelly (Conor Sutton `62)
Referee: Jim McKell