Walter Figueria was the Waterford hero as the Blues took victory over Cork City for the third time this season thanks to a late salvo at Turner’s Cross last night.
Dáire O’Connor’s first-half goal looked to have set the home side on the way to a first home league win since May 10 – and a first triumph under new boss Neale Fenn – but the Rebel Army couldn’t kill the game off, despite numerous opportunities to do so.
Waterford were level when Maxim Kouogun headed home a Shane Duggan cross on 82 minutes and the turnaround was complete in injury time as Michael O’Connor fed Georgie Poynton, who unselfishly played in Figueira for an easy finish and the points.
The visitors, who had drawn with Derry City on Friday, had the game’s first chance as former City men Shane Duggan and John Kavanagh exchanged headers in the area with Duggan putting his effort wide.
City settled into the game well though and Eoghan Stokes gave early notice of their intention with a long-range effort which needed a good block from another former City man, Kenny Browne, while Shane Griffin’s cross was headed over by Dan Casey on 11 minutes.
However, Waterford continued to look dangerous and Dean O’Halloran went close twice, having an effort deflected wide following a corner and then heading over from a Sam Bone free kick before Ryan was called into action. When City lost possession sloppily, JJ Lunney set Walter Figueira away on the right and he used his pace well before sending in a low shot but Ryan saved well and the goalkeeper kept out Waterford captain Rory Feely’s header from the corner, delivered by Georgie Poynton.
By this stage, Waterford had lost the unfortunate Kavanagh to injury and City began to get on top, moving the ball quickly and with purpose. A good passing move involving Shane Griffin, Garry Buckley, impressive debutant Josh Honohan and Sheppard ended with an O’Sullivan lay-off for Stokes, first-half sub Kouogun getting in the important block.
That lead to a corner, which Griffin took short to Dáire O’Connor. He dribbled in from the left before unleashing a wonderful curling shot, which caressed the crossbar and bounced in for the lead goal.
The strike lifted City’s confidence even further and another good move saw the ball worked to Sheppard on the right, his blast across the face of goal needing any touch to divert it in but such an intervention remained elusive.
Kenny Browne had to be alert to deny Sheppard following impressive interplay from Griffin and O’Connor and the increasingly influential Stokes set up O’Sullivan on 38, his low shot just wide.
As half-time approached, Waterford pressed again, going closest as Duggan’s shot from distance brought the best out of Tadhg Ryan – the goalkeeper making his first league start – but City held the lead to half-time and were strong again on the resumption.
O’Sullivan was the focal point for the home side and he went close twice in quick succession. First, his header from Sheppard’s cross had to be expertly tipped over by Connor; then, from Griffin’s corner, O’Sullivan’s header required the goalkeeper to show good reflexes. The netminder had perhaps earned a bit of luck and he got it when Sheppard’s low ball across slipped through his hands on 66, trickling just past the post.
A Sheppard shot from distance three minutes later was straight at Connor, while the keeper had more to do when Stokes had a chance in the area. On 75, Sheppard headed wide from Stokes’ free kick.
There was no doubting City’s dominance, but the failure to strengthen the lead meant they were always vulnerable. Waterford sub Michael O’Connor gave a reminder of that in the 81st minute as his 25-yard shot forced a save from Ryan and immediately after that Duggan provided the cross for Kouogun to head home the equaliser and there was still time for things to get even better for Alan Reynolds’ side.
CORK CITY: Ryan; Honohan, McCarthy, Casey, Griffin; Buckley, McCormack; Sheppard, Stokes, D O’Connor (Crowley 55); O’Sullivan (O’Brien-Whitmarsh 82).
WATERFORD: Connor; Kavanagh (Kouogun 19), Feely, Browne, Lynch; Duggan, Bone (O’Connor half-time); O’Halloran (Galvin 58), Poynton, Lunney; Figueira.
Referee: P McLaughlin (Monaghan).