Dean Walsh struck with four minutes left to grab an important three points for Waterford FC in a 2-1 win over UCD in the UCD Bowl.
Zack Elbouzedi gave the Blues the lead after seven minutes before Liam Kerrigan levelled on 68 minutes. But Walsh stepped up to fire the winner in the 86th minute.
Zack Elbouzedi made his comeback from injury while Rory Feely, returning from suspension, and John Kavanagh came in for Dean O’Halloran, Kenny Browne and Georgie Poynton.
Cory Galvin and Zack Elbouzedi both had early chances but UCD keeper Tom Murphy wasn’t troubled.
The early pressure resulted in the Blues taking a 7th-minute lead. Matthew Connor made a terrific save at one end to deny Liam Kerrigan before the Blues went forward.
Michael O’Connor found Zack Elbouzedi, on his return from injury, and he cut inside the penalty area and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
The Blues pushed on and almost made it 2-0 after 20 minutes. Cory Galvin, Rory Feely, Michael O’Connor and Zack Elbouzedi were all involved with the latter crossing for Feely at the back post to head at goal, but he was adjudged to have been offside.
Liam Kerrigan had a good chance to level the tie five minutes later; Connor at full stretch to deny the curling effort.
Waterford FC were on the attack again 12 minutes before the break. Rory Feely’s inviting cross was deflected onto his own crossbar by Evan Farrell, before the resulting corner kick saw JJ Lunney fire straight at Murphy.
Lunney had another chance four minutes into the second half to double the lead. Shane Duggan super cross found the run of the unmarked midfielder but he could only sidefoot beyond the post.
Matthew Connor was called into action again seven minutes later. Jason McClelland found Paul Doyle on the edge of the penalty area but Connor got down well to make a good save.
UCD levelled on 68 minutes. Rory Feely couldn’t deal with the Paul Doyle through ball and Liam Kerrigan nipped in to fire past Connor.
With neither side creating chances of note, it was Blues substitute who struck the winner with four minutes remaining. Georgie Poynton’s corner was cleared to John Kavanagh on the halfway line. He played the ball over the UCD defence and Dean Walsh struck a beautiful left-footed strike into the bottom corner for all three points.
UCD: Tom Murphy, Liam Scales, Harry McEvoy, Evan Farrell, Mark Dignam, Richie O’Farrell, Jack Keaney, Paul Doyle (Danu Kinsella Bishop 90), Jason McClelland, Liam Kerrigan (Jack Ryan 83), Sam Byrne (Yoyo Mahdy `80)
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor, Rory Feely, Maxi Kouogun, Rob Slevin, John Kavanagh, Tom Holland, Shane Duggan (Georgie Poynton 83), JJ Lunney, Zack Elbouzedi, Cory Galvin (Karolis Chvedukas 61), Michael O’Connor (Dean Walsh 74)
Referee: Paul Tuite