Dundalk FC have their swagger back as a brace from Michael Duffy helped the champions ease past the challenge of Waterford FC to record their fifth win on the bounce in last night’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division clash at the RSC.
Waterford goalkeeper Matt Connor produced a top save to deny Dundalk the breakthrough goal on nine minutes when Patrick Hoban split the Blues defence with a great ball that released Michael Duffy, but his left-footed strike from 14 yards was saved by the feet of the netminder.
Duffy had another chance for the visitors on 22 minutes when he took a pass from Daniel Kelly on the left-side of the penalty area, but Connor was alert to the danger once again as he saved at the feet of the winger.
Izzy Akinade had the first glimpse at goal for the home side six minutes later when the striker tried his luck with a cracking effort from 35-yards, but the ball just cleared the crossbar of Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers.
Dundalk struck the front on 43 minutes when Michael Duffy was brought to ground on the edge of the left-side of the penalty area by Maxi Kouogun and, after dusting himself down, his shot seemed to deceive Matt Connor as the ball found the far corner of the net.
It could have got even better for the Oriel Park outfit as they were denied a second goal in first-half injury-time when goalscorer Kelly slipped Daniel Kelly clear on the right, but Connor made a great save at his near post.
The visitors scored a stunning second goal on 56 minutes when Michael Duffy and Patrick Hoban combined down the left before the latter laid the ball back to Jordan Flores and he powered an unstoppable left-footed strike from 25 yards past a helpless Connor.
After picking up his first yellow card on the hour mark for a late challenge on Daniel Kelly, Blues midfielder Bastien Hery was sent off two minutes later by referee Derek Tomney when he put in a tackle on Patrick McEleney for which he could have little complaint.
Michael Duffy added a third goal for Dundalk on 67 minutes when he raced onto a pass from Sean Gannon and he drilled a right-footed shot past a motionless Connor from the edge of the penalty area.
Patrick Hoban went close to scoring a fourth goal five minutes later when he got past the challenge of Maxi Kouogun out on the left before cracking in a shot to the near post, but Connor did well to turn the ball over the bar as the champions showed their class to keep up the heat on leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Matt Connor, Rory Feely, Maxi Kouogun, Damien Delaney, Aaron Simpson, Bastien Héry, JJ Lunney, Shane Duggan (Georgie Poynton ’69), Zack Elbouzedi (Cory Galvin ’75), Aaron Drinan (Scott Twine ’69), Izzy Akinade
Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Chris Shields, Sean Hoare, James McGrath (Jordan Flores ’14), Daniel Kelly (John Mountney ’61), Dean Jarvis, Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban, Patrick McEleney (Georgie Kelly ’69)
Derek Tomney (Dublin)