With European football still not secured for Dundalk, three points against Waterford was firmly on the agenda despite the attentions of a glamour tie against Arsenal on the horizon. Filippo Giovagnoli knew coming into the job that the title was very much out of his grasp so the securing of European football was paramount, a win today would put them in pole position in that elusive third European spot. It couldn’t be secured today but a win would go a long way to ensure it.
Dundalk rung in the changes for today’s game as Filippo Giovagnoli used the full extent of his playing squad at this disposal. The Italian made five changes from the starting line up and once again rotated goalkeeper with Aaron McCarey who has featured in games of recent to be the custodian for today’s game.
With the lions share of possession Dundalk had the first real attempt in anger when Michael Duffy cut inside into his favoured right foot after teasing his way past players into the area and his curling goal-bound effort was brilliantly saved by Murphy to deny the Dundalk winger.
Duffy was instrumental in Dundalk’s next attack when his cross was fed into the patch of Jordan Flores but his effort was blocked down. Waterford had a good attacking spell using their width and pace of wingers to send some efforts into the area but Dundalk’s defence held firm with Andy Boyle and Brian Gartland ensuring that Aaron McCarey was not called into action.
Dundalk on the half-hour mark cleared a corner and with a fantastic breakaway attack for the away side Michael Duffy lead the charge but his effort is blocked down and Waterford cleared on the second attempt. Dundalk got a massive let off as the home side had a massive chance to put themselves in the lead when
Daryl Murphy latched onto a mislaid pass from Chris Sheilds and his effort just trickled wide of the back post after he had beaten the advancing Aaron Mc Carey. Both sides had chances in quick succession with Waterford striker Daryl Murphy had another effort on goal which was easily saved by McCarey and moments later it Jordan Flores who let fly but it went over the bar.
Dundalk started the second half in earnest with an early chance falling to David McMillan. He had a good attempt with a header following a cross by Mountney but Murphy gathered well in the Waterford goal.
Waterford then punished Dundalk for all the possession and not taking advantage of it when they took the lead. In the initial build-up there was a claim for a handball by Daryl Murphy and when the ball was crossed into the area on the second attempt by Will Fitzgerald was met by John Martin who headed it past McCarey.
Dundalk despite asserting possession could not turn that possession into chances despite a more attacking threat being introduced. Dundalk despatched Patrick McEleney and Patrick Hoban from the bench. It was almost 2-0 when Dundalk’s centre back switched off and Daryl Murphy found himself one on one with Aaron McCarey however he blazed his effort wide.
Patrick Hoban was given a fantastic chance to equalise when the ball fell to him in the area and his effort was excellent and it just flashed wide. He had another great chance from a corner when a corner was sent in by Duffy and his diving header went over.
With this result, it leaves the all-important third place up for grabs with the chasing pack back in play and if Dundalk want further nights like that on Thursday the final games against St. Patricks Athletic and Sligo Rovers are must-wins to put the place to bed.
Waterford: Brian Murphy, Darragh Power, Jake Davidson, John Martin (Tunmise Sobowale 75), Tyreke Wilson, Will Fitzgerald (Will Longbottom 65), Robbie Weir, Niall O’Keeffe, Matthew Smith, Allistar Coote, Daryl Murphy.
Dundalk: Aaron McCarey, John Mountney, Brian Gartland, Andy Boyle, Cameron Dummigan (Darragh Leahy 65), Chris Shields (Greg Sloggett 77), Jordan Flores (Patrick McEleney 61), Stefan Colovic (Sean Gannon 65), Sean Murray (Patrick Hoban 61), Michael Duffy, David McMillan.
By Ciarán Callan