Maleace Asamoah scored a hat-trick as Dundalk’s SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division survival hopes suffered another blow with a 4-1 defeat by in-form Waterford at the RSC on Friday night.

Asamoah netted just over 90 seconds into the game and he could have had a second soon after but Ross Munro saved well, as the team with the worst home record in the division blew out of the blocks.

The Lilywhites levelled before the midway point of the first half through a cool Robbie Benson finish and they were the dominant team from then until just before half-time when Asamoah restored Waterford’s lead against the run of play.

It got worse for Dundalk early in the second half when they lost Benson to injury and, within seconds, they conceded for a third time when Christie Pattisson hammered home from close range.

Noel King’s side tried hard to find a way back into the game, Cami Elliott going closest with a header, but they never looked likely to stage a fight-back. With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Waterford added a fourth as Asamoah completed his treble with a stunning strike.

Dundalk goalkeeper Ross Munro punches clear during the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match between Waterford and Dundalk at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

For the game, King made four changes to the team that were beaten in the Louth Derby four days earlier. Munro came in for the suspended George Shelvey in goal, Zak Bradshaw returned from a ban while Elliott and Koen Oostenbrink also started. The latter trio replaced John Mountney, Paul Doyle and the injured Scott High.

Waterford took the lead inside two minutes. A poor kick-out from Munro fell to Asamoah in the middle of the park and he skipped away from the defence before planting a low shot in the bottom corner.

On 10 minutes, Asamoah raided down the left and got to the by-line where he pulled the ball back for Dean McMenamy whose low strike was stopped well by Dundalk’s No1. Waterford also had a couple of early penalty appeals waved away.

Robbie Benson of Dundalk celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match between Waterford and Dundalk at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

After a lull in the game, Dundalk equalised on 22 minutes. Jamie Gullan supplied a beautiful reverse path into Benson in the box and he calmly slid the ball beyond Sam Sargeant.

On 25 minutes, Elliott held the ball up and teed up Archie Davies on the edge of the box but his powerful shot was deflected behind. Dundalk had taken confidence from their goal and, on 34 minutes, Davies almost turned provider for Oostenbrink but he just failed to connect close in.

Davies then had another shot blocked as Dundalk looked for a lead goal. Waterford ‘keeper Sargeant looked in trouble when he took down Gullan outside the box but the referee, to the surprise of the crowd, booked the Dundalk striker for simulation.

Against the run of play, Waterford retook the lead on 44 minutes as Dundalk were hit with another setback. Parsons raced down the right and crossed for Asamoah who blasted to the net from close range.

Koen Oostenbrink of Dundalk reacts after his side concedes their first goal, scored by Maleace Asamoah of Waterford, not pictured, during the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division match between Waterford and Dundalk at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford. Photo by Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

After the interval, on 48 minutes, Davies cut past a number of defenders inside the area before shooting goalwards but again his effort was blocked. Dundalk then lost Benson – who is suspended for the visit of Shamrock Rovers next week following his first-half booking – to injury, with club captain Mountney coming on.

Within seconds of that substitution, though, it was 3-1. Parsons’ shot from the 18-yard line was blocked but it bounced off Grant Horton and fell kindly in the six-yard box for Pattisson who swivelled and buried the ball in the roof of the net.

On 57 minutes, Dundalk almost replied when Daryl Horgan stood up a cross for Elliott at the back post but he headed over. Gullan then struck off target, before Paul Doyle and Eoin Kenny were thrown on for Hayden Muller and Elliott.

Dundalk conceded a fourth in the 76th minute when Asamoah spotted Munro off his line and he unleashed a superb strike which dipped over the ‘keeper to seal his hat-trick. On another bad night for the club, they fell six points behind ninth-placed Drogheda United, who held leaders Shelbourne at Tolka Park.

WATERFORD FC: Sam Sargeant, Darragh Power, Grant Horton, Kacper Radkowski, Darragh Leahy, Dean McMenamy (Harvey Macadam 67), Rowan McDonald (Niall O’Keeffe 72), Christie Pattisson, Connor Parsons (Ben McCormack 67), Maleace Asamoah (Gbemi Arubi 82), Padraig Amond (Connor Evans 82). Subs not used: Matt Connor (GK), Robbie McCourt, Romeo Akachukwu, Joseph Forde.

DUNDALK FC: Ross Munro, Hayden Muller (Paul Doyle 64), Zak Johnson, Andy Boyle, Zak Bradshaw, Archie Davies, Koen Oostenbrink, Robbie Benson (John Mountney 52), Daryl Horgan (Ryan O’Kane 87), Cami Elliott (Eoin Kenny 64), Jamie Gullan (Sam Durrant 87). Subs not used: Seán Molloy (GK), Jamie Walker, Louie Annesley, Mayowa Animasahun.

REFEREE: David Dunne.