Shelbourne came away from Tolka Park with a deserved three points against an ill-disciplined Waterford United. At this stage of the season and with a dog fight on their hands with UCD for the final play off spot, Kevin Doherty’s squad knew that they couldn’t let any precious points slip through the cracks.
The home side dominated the first half and could have gone ahead early in the game. Defender Sean Heaney picked up a loose ball in the box. His effort went across the face of goal but ultimately went wide.
Shelbourne continued to press ahead with Dylan McGlade in particular, giving the Waterford defence headaches as he dashed down the right wing. He also created a few good chances in the process for his side with splendid crosses into the box. Unfortunately, the end product by the targeted players were not good enough and they did little to trouble the keeper.
The deadlock was broken midway through the half. Defender Adam O’Connor played a beautiful low cross from the right side of the area. The ball was met by James English, who clipped the ball with the inside of his right foot. The effort was enough to creep by Waterford keeper, Robert Birdsall.
Waterford’s night didn’t get any better as defender Dean Reidy had to be replaced after half an hour by Robbie Buckley with what looked like a leg injury. the away side pushed ahead late into the half and Anthony McAlavey gave Shels a scare before the break. The striker managed to round Greg Murray but he went too far and was left with a near impossible shot from an angle, which went wide.
The visitors could have easily gone down to 10 men late in the first half as Colum Nugent went in hard and late on Shels goalscorer, James English. The defender can count him lucky that he wasn’t taking an early bath.
Shelbourne started the second half like they had left the first, pressing on the visitors and pushing forward. Their pressure paid off as English nabbed his second goal of the game after only only one minute of play in the second half. Gareth Coughlan played a lovely short pass to the striker, who hit it hard and low from right to left. The ball beat an outstretching Birdsall, who could have done better to keep his side in the game.
Waterford then attempted to get into the game once more and again went close. The best chance for the visitors came mid way throughout the half, Corey Galvin with the ball and like a bolt of lightening, made his way down the pitch. He picked out Aaron O’Connor with a lovely pass but the target man could only shoot straight at shot stopper Murray.
The game was all but over with less then 10 minutes to go. Nugent, who was lucky not to be sent off in the first half, went in late with two feet on Sean Heaney. The Waterford man was shown a straight red. Heaney was very lucky to walk away from the tackle as it looked much worse.
The visitors were immediately punished by the hosts. Substitute, Conor Earley, made he was into the box but picked out an unmarked Carl Walshe on the edge of the area. The striker moved into the area and dummied the defence. He then took a crack at goal. His effort was low and went across the area. Again, Birdsall was caught out and ball creeped by him to make it 3-0.
The victory leaves Shelbourne in fourth place but only one point behind third place UCD, who lost to Finn Harps. Manager, Kevin Doherty will be hoping his side can keep up a similar performance in their last two games of the season, against Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers, and push for a play off place and try and secure a return to the top division.
Waterford United drop to the bottom of the league as Cabinteely move ahead after a victory against Cobh Ramblers. Manager Roddy Collins will be disappointed with the overall performance of his side but he knows this team is a work in progress. Arguably, Waterford’s goal now is to get off the bottom of the league and look toward the work that needs to be done ahead of next season.
SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney (Donnelly 85′), Doyle (C) (Andrews 85′), Coughlan (Earley 71′), Crowe, Walshe, English, McGlade
Substitutes: Brady, Dixon, Sandford, O’Sullivan
Goals: English (27′, 46′), Walshe (85′)
Yellow Cards: Robinson (40′)
Waterford United: Birdsall, Corcoran, Reidy (Buckley 32′), Nugent, Mackey, Boyle (C), E.Galvin (Nolan ’85), O’Connor, Prendergast (Walsh 56′), McAlavey, C.Galvin
Yellow Cards: Nugent (44′)
Red Cards: Nugent (83′)
Referee: Robert Hennessey