Waterford United 2 Cobh Ramblers 1
Mark Walsh was the hero for Waterford United as he scored a priceless winner in the basement battle against Cobh Ramblers as Tommy Griffin’s side ended a 12-game winless run in battling fashion.
Cobh Ramblers goalkeeper David Browne was called into action to make the first save of the contest on two minutes when Kevin O’Connor went on a strong run before slipping the ball into the path of Conor Whittle, but his deflected effort was superbly clawed away by netminder Browne.
Former Blues player Stephen Kenny had a chance to put the visitors in front on seven minutes when he got on the end of a left-wing Ryan Goldsmith delivery but missed with his free header.
A bizarre piece of goalkeeping from Burns gifted Cobh the lead goal on 12 minutes when Kenny got free inside the area but his weak effort was saved, however Burns then somehow managed to divert the ball over his own line.
Vinny Sullivan brought a fine save out of Browne at the other end two minutes later, after he latched onto a through ball from Kevin O’Connor before the latter linked up brilliantly with Conor Whittle out on the right but his effort from the edge of the area was just the wrong side of the near post.
The Blues continued to force the issue going forward, as they went in search of an equalising goal and it was Shaun Corcoran who nearly restored parity on 24 minutes. He took the ball past two Cobh players but his well struck left-footed shot from 20 yards was turned around the posts by Cobh’s Browne.
Kenny went close to doubling the Cobh lead two minutes into the second half, when he picked up a pass from Kynan Rocks but he couldn’t find a way past the keeper, while Sullivan went close at the other end.
Cobh central defender Craig Burns, who had a previous spell with United, should have extended his side’s advantage on 58 minutes when he ghosted in to get on the end of a Kenny free-kick from the left but he just couldn’t direct his close-range effort on target.
The Blues drew level with a goal that their first-half dominance deserved on 74 minutes, when Brian Nolan whipped in a superb free-kick to the near post, where Thomas Croke powered an unstoppable close-range header high into the roof of the net past a helpless Browne.
Keith O’Flynn missed a glorious chance to put the Leeside outfit back in front less than five minutes later when he raced through on goal following a Robert Lynch pass but he blazed a left-footed shot wide of the right hand post.
Without a win since victory away to Rovers back in June, Waterford should have put their noses in front on 85 minutes when a brilliant ball from Kevin O’Connor sent Conor Whittle clear but with only Browne to beat, he shot straight at the visiting keeper, and O’Connor’s follow up was blocked clear by Craig Burns.
There was one final twist with three minutes remaining as the hosts struck gold when Browne failed to clear a long Croke pass under pressure from Mikie Rowe, and Mark Walsh was on hand to stroke a 30-yard left-footed shot to an empty net.
WATERFORD UNITED: K. Burns, Nolan, Croke, Frost, Corcoran, Whittle, Boyle (Walsh 59), K. O’Connor, Sullivan, Fitzpatrick, Kiely (Rowe 66).
COBH RAMBLERS: Browne, Gumbo, Neville, C. Burns, Frahill, Lynch, Donoghue (Hastings 82), O’Connell (K. O’Flynn 73), Kenny, Rocks, Goldsmith.
Referee: David Keeler (Cork).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved