Waterford United welcomed Longford Town to the RSC on Friday night, as De Town looked to edge closer to promotion, while for the Blues it was a game of keeping face.
Strikes from Gary Shaw and Jamie Mulhall, saw the league leaders take all three points from a Waterford side that were well off the mark. Shaw was on hand on twenty six minutes to touch home from close range, before Mulhall netted from thirty yards, to secure a win for a Longford side who dominated proceedings.
After a cagey start, Waterford broke down the left. Whittle linking well with Willie John Kiely to wiggle around the Longford defence. Whittle slid the ball into the feet of Mikie Rowe, who couldn’t get the away. The Longford centre backs split in half.
The game’s first card was produced after fifteen minutes. Patrick Fitzgerald’s tackle on Longford skipper Stephen Rice deemed serious enough to receive a warning from the match official.
Longford began to dominate the game after the booking, as the home side struggled to get a real foot hold in the game. The home side standing well, as they faced long periods pinned deep in their own half.
Twenty two minutes in the travelling side almost found the back of Kevin Burns’ net. Don Cowan sending a ball deep into the home sides box, David Sullivan unable to get his head to the ball.
Moments later Cowan caused trouble for the Waterford back four. After beating Shaun Corcoran, Cowan whipped a ball in. Burns fumbled, and after a scramble in the six yard box, the ball was finally cleared by the Waterford number one.
The deadlock was finally broken on twenty six minutes. Sullivan whipping the ball to the United box. Gary Shaw was on hand to touch it home from two yards to rattle the net at the city end of the ground.
The travelling side doubled their lead right on half time. After Burns pushed a shot from Rhys Gorman around the post, the resulting corner was poorly cleared. The ball fell to the feet of full back Jamie Mulhall, who had one thing on his mind. The full back let loose an amazing shot from thirty yards, which rattled the back of Kevin Burns net.
Longford picked up where they left off, and piled the pressure on the home side. After disposing Vinny Sullivan, Gary Shaw linked with Sullivan for a one two, before squaring the ball for Shannon, who saw his effort cleared from the line.
Mulhall looked to double his lead on fifty three minutes. Having weaved through the Waterford back four, Burns had to get down quick to stop the full back scoring, what would have been, his second.
The away side continued to create problems for Waterford, who struggled for possession throughout the game. With Waterford pinned in their box, Longford could have had three when Peter Hynes headed down into space. The striker making the wrong decision for the striker, when the goal was there for the taking.
De Town continued to test Burns between the Waterford sticks. The United number one doing well to keep hold of the ball. Lorcan Shannon was next to try make it three, after O’Sullivan turned provider, Shannon sending his shot high and wide.
Longford continued to dominate the game, and as scores came in from Donegal the travelling Longford fans grew louder and louder, as their team edged ever closer to the promised land of Irish football.
Waterford United: Kevin Burns (GK), Connor Whittle, Shaun Corcoran, Patrick Fitzgerald (Thomas Croke, 63), John Frost, Brian Nolan (Andrew O’Connor, 55), Ross Fitzpatrick, Vinny Sullivan (Capt.), Willie John Kiely (Daryl Power) (, Mikie Rowe, Ethan Boyle.
Subs: Daryl Power, Cormac Breslin, Matthew Connor (GK), Sammy Ogayemi, Mark Walsh.
Longford Town: Paul Hun(GK)t, Jamie Mulhall, Rhys Gorman, Pat Sullivan, Tom Morris, Don Cowan(Mark Salmon), Kevin O’Connor, Stephen Rice (Capt.), Lorcan Shannon, Gary ,Shaw, (Peter Hynes ), David O’Sullivan (Ger Pender).
Subs: Noel Haverty, Glen O’Connor, Connor O’Brien, Chris Bennion (GK).
PA MOTM: Jamie Mulhall.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan.