Mervue United 0 - 2 Waterford UnitedSun, Aug 05 2012
Waterford United returned to winning ways with a goal in each half to overcome Mervue United at Fahy’s Field on Saturday night and closed the gap on second placed Longford Town to just one point as the promotion race starts to hot up in the First Division.
The home side were forced to make three changes from last week’s winning side as Damien O'Rourke, Etanda Nkololo and Alex Lee all returned to the starting line-up with Alan Murphy, Martin Conneely and captain Mike Elwood all missing.
Paul O’Brien made four changes to his Waterford side which drew 1-1 with Finn Harps last week as Dylan Mernagh, David Breen, Ben Ryan and Sean Maguire all returned to his starting eleven.
And it was the visitors who got off to a flying start as they struck for the opening goal as early as the sixth minute. Mervue’s Noel Varley conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Gary Dempsey’s quick set piece was laid into the path of Sean Maguire and the youngster beat Connor Gleeson with a perfect finish into the far corner for his eleventh goal of the season.
Mervue’s Etanda Nkololo did well on 11 minutes when he found Alex Lee on the edge of the box but his effort was well saved by Packie Holden. The visitors came close to doubling their lead on 22 minutes when Paul Phelan was played in by a Peter Keegan ball but Gleeson stood tall to deflect the ball away for a corner at his near post. Dempsey's corner picked out Maguire but he headed well over the crossbar from a good position.
A minute later Holden got down low to save another well struck Lee shot from the edge of the box, while at the other end Dylan Mernagh couldn’t get a vital touch on a Dempsey corner as the ball flashed across the goalmouth.
Gleeson saved his side again just past the half hour mark as he acrobatically flew across his goal to push away Dempsey’s on target free-kick with Paul Carey finishing the loose ball to the net but the assistant referee’s flag ruled that out for offside.
The home side continue to work hard and Nkololo’s intelligent ball through the middle almost found the well positioned Lee again, but the alert Holden had come off his line to just claim the ball before the Mervue man could get a touch.
The Blues should have made it 2-0 ten minutes after the break when Paul Phelan and Maguire combined on the right of the box with some good play before the young striker picked out Peter White with a low ball into the box. But the midfielder ballooned his strike into the astro cages behind Gleeson’s goal.
Another good run through the middle on 69 minutes from Maguire saw him play the ball to Phelan whose effort just cleared Gleeson’s crossbar, while Maguire then saw a lobbed effort comfortably gathered by the home keeper five minutes later.
Maguire was now causing the home side problems every time he received the ball and his run with ten minutes remaining finally resulted in Waterford adding a second. The youngster raced into the box on the right hand side before ending up on the deck following a rash challenge from Varley and referee Rhona Daly had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Centre half David Breen made his way up the park and coolly smashed the ball past Gleeson for the insurance goal.
After that, Mervue sub Dan Cunningham was awarded a free kick after being taken down by Seamus Long on the edge of the box and Jason Molloy fired the ball in under the Waterford crossbar but Holden was on hand to punch away the danger. The home side continued to look for a consolation and Pat Hoban broke in injury time before picking out Tom King in the box but the winger headed wide.
Maguire then almost trebled his side’s goal tally in the final action of injury time as he raced through on goals but Gleeson once again stood up to make another smart save with his legs as he denied the striker a second on the night.
Waterford manager Paul O’Brien was a happy man after the game as he was quick to point out his side were 12 points behind the league’s front runners before their recent unbeaten run of ten games has seen them close the gap to just a single point away from a play-off position.
Mervue Utd: Connor Gleeson; Tom King, Michael McSweeney, Marc Ludden, Damien O’Rourke; Alex Lee (Cian McBrien 66), Noel Varley (Andy Higgins 85), Gary Kelly, Etanda Nkololo (Dan Cunningham 62); Jason Molloy, Pat Hoban.
Subs not used: Ronan Forde (GK), Brian Connolly, Jean Biansumba, James Casserly.
Bookings: Ludden (40), J Molloy (83).
Waterford United: Packie Holden; Paul Carey, Seamus Long, David Breen, Dylan Mernagh (John Frost 54); Ben Ryan (Conor Coad 73), Gary Dempsey, Peter White, Paul Phelan; Peter Keegan (Willie John Kiely 80), Sean Maguire.
Subs not used: Robbie Hughes (GK), Stephen Mulcahy, Aidan McGrath and Jack Doherty.
Bookings: White (44).
Referee: Rhona Daly (Roscommon).
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Paul Carey (Waterford Utd) - Excellent display from the right back.