SSE Airtricity League Premier Division
Shelbourne FC 0
Waterford FC 1
A massive three points for Waterford FC, taking a huge away against potential relegation rivals Shelbourne, 148 days since their last league encounter.
No less than three debuts for the visitors, who had Timmy Sobowale at right-back, alongside Robert McCourt in the back four, while Robbie Weir started in a defensive two, and Kurtis Byrne lead the line.
And it was Sobowale directly involved in the opener when it arrived just past the hour mark; heading back a ball from the left flank, and while Matthew Smith and Shels keeper Colin McCabe tangled, John Martin nipped in behind to smash home his first goal in Blues colours, since netting the last of four against Limerick in October 2018.
It was no less than John Sheridan’s side deserved, looking far more organised than a Shels outfit who struggled to keep possession, showing all the signs of a side needing more competitive action under their belt.
Ali Coote could consider himself slightly fortunate so only see yellow, as himself and Lorcan Fitzgerald both left their feet scrapping for a breaking ball.
The Blues had their own contestations with referee Ben Connolly on the other side of the half-time whistle, as Smith was bundled over by Dan Byrne, but a little bit too easily in the eyes of the man in the middle, before debutant Brian McManus warmed Brian Murphy’s gloves for the first time
Shels had their best chance about 10 minutes into the second, when Aaron Dobbs’ turned Sam Bone and slid a ball inside for Karl Sheppard, but Robbie McCourt was brave in denying the former Cork City striker from levelling things from eight yards out, and from the resulting corner Jaze Kabia flashed over, as the hosts took control for the first time.
Shane Griffin flashe low effort wide of the near post at the other end while Smith couldn’t quite get enough purchase on two opportunities, better suited to his left foot.
Morris used all of his five changes, losing patience with Aaron Dobbs in bringing on Ciarán Kilduff with a quarter-hour to go, but with Blues’ netminder Murphy left relatively untroubled to the end, the win sees Waterford leapfrog their hosts all the way up to 4th.
Shelbourne: C McCabe; A Friel, D Byrne, L Byrne, L Fitzgerald (A O’Hanlon 76) ; J Kabia, G Deegan, B McManus (S Quinn 70), A Cetiner (R Brennan 46); K Sheppard (D Rooney 70); A Dobbs (C Kilduff 70).
Waterford FC: B Murphy; O Sobowale (D Power 90+7), S Bone, R McCourt, T Wilson; J Martin (W Longbottom 59), R Weir; A Coote, S Griffin, M Smith; K Byrne (A Phelan 84).
Referee: B Connolly.