Waterford FC got the 2020 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season off to a good start with a 1-0 away win against St Patrick’s Athletic.
Kevin O’Connor’s early second-half goal put the Blues in front and a stern defensive performance ensured three points.
Blues captain for the night Michael O’Connor had the first chance on 12 minutes when he got on the end of Ali Coote’s right-wing cross but his header went over, before the striker could have scored with his next chance three minutes later but he headed Kevin O’Connor’s cross inches over.
St Patrick’s Athletic almost hit the front with a stunning goal that could have caught Blues netminder Brian Murphy out on 31 minutes when Dean Clarke spotted the keeper off his line from goal, but the ball went wide of the left-hand post with Murphy getting back on his line.
After former Blues defender Rory Feely was off target with a shot from the right-side of the penalty area on the stroke of half time, it was the Blues that got the golden goal four minutes into the second half.
Robbie Benson’s loose back pass saw Matty Smith nip in to take the ball past keeper Brendan Clarke before brilliantly pulling it back for Kevin O’Connor to finish right footed from 12 yards to send the large travelling support into celebrations.
Ian Bermingham’s run down the left-side a minute later caused troubles as he crossed for Dean Clarke but his shot was straight at Murphy.
The home side saw appeals for a penalty turned down on 55 minutes, but referee Sean Grant waved play on.
New signing Brian Murphy was marshalling the Blues defence in the game sixty seconds later when Billy King sent in a right-wing corner kick that picked out the run of Feely, but his back post header was kept out
Ian Bermingham should have equalised with a headed chance that came his way on 66 minutes when he got on the end of a Billy King cross, but he couldn’t hit the target, before Murphy saved well from Robbie Benson.
Tyreke Wilson cleared a header from Billy King off the line on 76 minutes as the home side continued to try force the issue before Brian Murphy produced another save out of the top drawer seven minutes when brilliantly turning Chris Forrester effort around the posts as the Blues picked up all three points.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Luke McNally, Rory Feely, Lee Desmond, Ian Bermingham; Dean Clarke (James Doona 79), Jamie Lennon (Ronan Hale 67), Robbie Benson, Billy King; Jay McClelland (Chris Forrester 55); Martin Rennie.
Waterford FC: Brian Murphy; Sam Bone, Andre Burley, Akin Odimayo, Tyreke Wilson; Ali Coote, Scott Allardice, Kevin O’Connor, Robbie McCourt; Michael O’Connor, Matty Smith (Darragh Power 79).
Referee: Sean Grant