A single Gary Shaw second-half goal downed Waterford FC as Shamrock Rovers left the RSC with three points after a 1-0 win.
The visitors started well and Roberto Lopes should have given them the lead after three minutes. Ronan Finn sent in the free kick from the right which bounced around the penalty area before dropping to Lopes. The centre half somehow fired wide from just six yards.
The Blues had massive appeals for penalty turned down after 21 minutes. Striker Courtney Duffus did superbly to beat three defender before charging at goal from the endline before being challenged by Lopes. Referee Robert Harvey was close to the action but, to the amazement to the 2,300+ inside the RSC, awarded a goal kick.
Stephen Bradley’s side had another brilliant chance to take the lead 10 minutes before half time. Stanley Aborah failed to clear on the edge of the Blues penalty area and Dylan Watts picked up the ball. His strike forced Matthew Connor into a good save before Ronan Finn’s rebound forced the netminder into an even better second save to keep the game scoreless.
The Blues had a great chance to take the lead just before half time. Aborah’s free kick found Feely at the back post and he headed across the goalmouth. Striker Duffus latched onto the ball and forced Rovers keeper Alan Mannus into a good one-handed save.
Mannus was forced into action more as the second half wore on. Gavan Holohan flicked to Duffus who in turn laid the ball off to Bastien Hery; his powerful drive forced Mannus into an excellent save.
Shortly after, he made two brilliant saves to keep the Blues out. First, he kept out the low strike of Holohan from the right inside the penalty area before somehow keeping out Akinade’s rebound from close range.
But three minutes later, Rovers were rewarded. Substitutes Sam Bone and Gary Shaw combined for Bone’s cross to find Shaw and his diving header beat beat Blues keeper Connor for the lead.
Waterford pressed for an equaliser and Akinade struck the woodwork, before he failed to get enough contact to Dessie Hutchinson’s excellent delivery as Shamrock Rovers held on for the three points.
Waterford FC: Connor; Feely, Browne, Webster, Barnett; Keegan, Holohan (Hutchinson 82), Hery, Aborah (Puri 85), Akinade, Duffus (Hunt 65).
Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; Boyle (Bone 13), Lopes, Grace, Byrne; Kavanagh (Greene 62), Finn, Bolger, Watts, Coustrain; Carr (Shaw 62).
Referee: Robert Harvey