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Match Report

Dundalk’s long run of home clean-sheets came to a crashing end as Connor Parsons and Dean McMenamy scored first-half goals to give Waterford a 2-0 win on a bad Friday night at the office for Jon Daly’s men.

Dundalk – who had not conceded at Oriel Park since March 4th, totalling over 750 minutes of play – had started with intent, but should have been behind early on, only for Ben McCormack to miscue when left with just goalkeeper Ross Munro to beat.

However, Waterford did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, as a swift break ended with Parsons being left in the clear and he finished clinically for a 19th-minute lead.

McCormack could have added a second before Dundalk’s best opening came five minutes before half-time when Daryl Horgan delivered onto the head of club captain John Mountney but, from close range, he headed over the bar.

That would prove a costly miss as Waterford doubled their lead before the whistle when McMenamy powered in a free-kick from just outside the area.

Padraig Amond almost added a third shortly after the restart but then Dundalk pressed well for a way back into the game, with Mountney and Ryan O’Kane both going close in a six-minute spell.

But Dundalk would ultimately fail to find a breakthrough, Mountney and Robbie Benson seeing sweet free-kicks beaten away by ‘keeper Sam Sargeant in the final ten minutes, as the gap between them and safety grew on a disappointing night.

Dundalk made four changes to the side that beat Sligo Rovers 1-0 at home before the break. Munro and Mountney came back into the team along with youngsters Seán Keogh and Eoin Kenny who were both in the starting XI for the first time. For Keogh, it was a league debut.

Before the game, the Lilywhites announced that versatile Lincoln City loanee Zak Bradshaw had returned to his parent club, while centre-half Louie Annesley departed Oriel. Andy Boyle was injured and missed out, but Koen Oostenbrink and Robbie Mahon made the bench.

Dundalk began brightly and, after Benson threatened in the opening seconds, the experienced midfielder had more control of the ball in his next attack in the fourth minute, setting himself before curling past the post from outside the box.

Hesitancy in the home defence gifted Waterford a glorious opening in the eighth minute as Dundalk failed to clear at the back post and the ball fell for McCormack – the only new face in the Blues lineup from their 4-1 win over Dundalk at the RSC earlier in the season – but, on the turn close in, he shot wide.

But Waterford would take the lead on 19 minutes, in the process ending Dundalk’s long sequence without conceding a goal at home. It came from a Dundalk corner as the Blues broke at pace and, with the Lilywhites’ defence desperately trying to get back, Christie Pattisson played in Parsons who was cool in finishing past Munro.

On 25 minutes, Waterford could have added a second when they were again dangerous down the left, with Amond pulling the ball back for McCormack whose shot was destined for the bottom corner only for Zak Johnson to stick out a leg and divert it behind.

Past the half-hour, and shortly after a Horgan free-kick evaded Kenny and Benson at the back stick, Dundalk forced a number of corners, with the final one of the sequence seeing Kenny get a toe to the ball but Sargeant gathered at the second attempt.

Dundalk should have scored on the 40-minute mark when Horgan controlled well on the right and put the ball on the head of Mountney in the six-yard box but he could not keep his effort down, in what would prove to be a big moment.

Waterford doubled their lead before the break when McMenamy blasted a free-kick from around 20 yards into the bottom corner. And it could have been 3-0 two minutes after half-time but Amond’s header went inches wide after a fine McCormack delivery.

Dundalk almost found a way back into the game in the 50th minute after good link-up play between Kenny and Archie Davies, the latter teeing up Mountney in the ‘D’ but the skipper dragged his shot off target.

On 56 minutes, Dundalk were nearly in when Benson threaded a ball through for O’Kane but Sargeant raced from his goal to produce a fine block. Ten minutes later, Cami Elliott was called upon, replacing Kenny. Mahon soon followed, coming in for O’Kane.

Eight minutes from time, Dundalk were awarded a free-kick on the left edge of the area and Mountney hammered it goalward but Sargeant did well to get down and push it away, with Horgan offside as he attempted to follow up.

Substitute Niall O’Keeffe went close to adding a third for Waterford but by then they had the job done as Dundalk fell to a first home defeat in almost four months, Benson’s fine injury-time free-kick drawing a good save from Sargeant as Dundalk were denied a consolation.

DUNDALK FC: Ross Munro, Archie Davies, Zak Johnson, Hayden Muller, Seán Keogh, John Mountney, Paul Doyle, Daryl Horgan, Robbie Benson, Ryan O’Kane (Robbie Mahon 73), Eoin Kenny (Cami Elliott 66). Subs not used: Seán Molloy (GK), Jamie Walker, Koen Oostenbrink, Vinnie Leonard, Luke Mulligan, Sam Durrant, Scott Brady.

WATERFORD FC: Sam Sargeant, Darragh Power, Grant Horton, Kacper Radkowski, Darragh Leahy, Dean McMenamy, Rowan McDonald (Robbie McCourt 89), Christie Pattisson (Joseph Forde 90+4), Connor Parsons (Connor Evans 89), Ben McCormack (Niall O’Keeffe 79), Padraig Amond. Subs not used: Matt Connor (GK), Ryan Burke, Adam Queally, Calum Costello, Kacper Skwierczynski.

REFEREE: Paul Norton.

Results

Club1st Half2nd HalfGoals
Dundalk FC000
Waterford FC202

Details

Date Time League Season
June 28, 2024 7:45 pm Premier Division 2024 League of Ireland