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Experienced Estonia international hits the winner as Waterford move up to third

Sander Puri’s first-half strike from Noel Hunt’s right-wing cross secured all three points at Sligo’s expense.

Waterford's Sander Puri (file pic).
Waterford's Sander Puri (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Waterford FC 1
Sligo Rovers 0

Brendan White reports from the RSC

WATERFORD FC RETURNED to third place in the Premier Division table after a 1-0 win at home to Sligo Rovers at the RSC.

Sander Puri’s first-half strike from Noel Hunt’s right-wing cross secured all three points as the race for third place continues.

A quiet opening to the game saw neither side take control although the home team shaded the possession. The only attack in the first quarter-hour saw Stanley Aborah’s free kick for Waterford find the head of Garry Comerford, but referee Ben Connolly spotted an infringement.

The game came to life out of nowhere on 17 minutes. Noel Hunt picked up possession and pushed forward down the right before powering his cross to the front post for the on-rushing Sander Puri to fire first-time into the bottom corner beyond Rovers keeper Ed McGinty.

The visitors struggled to get a hold of the game and Aborah’s free kick on the half hour caused more problems in the penalty box. The ball fell to Rory Feely, who laid it off for Paul Keegan, but Sligo keeper McGinty recovered to make a good save.

Eight minutes before the break, the visitors forced a series of dangerous corners. Regan Donalan broke down the right and his dangerous cross forced defender Garry Comerford to clear. The resulting corner saw Patrick McClean, against his former side, rise highest, but the player’s effort was deflected wide.

The ensuing set piece was cleared, allowing Cory Galvin to break free down the left for the home side and race away. He picked out Sander Puri, but the midfielder’s strike was saved by McGinty to ensure only one goal separated the sides going in at the break.

In the second half, Galvin forced McGinty into a smart save as he raced down the left before striking for the near post.

Mike Drennan looked to level for Sligo Rovers on the hour mark. He brilliantly controlled Patrick McClean’s left-wing cross, but the former Aston Villa youngster was crowded out as he readied to strike.

Sligo Rovers played the last portion of the game with just 10 men, after losing captain Rhys McCabe to injury, before Aborah almost sealed the points. His free kick from the edge of the penalty area struck the inside the post and bounced across the goal line and out, as the Blues held out after a late spell of Rovers pressure.

Waterford FC: Niall Corbet, Noe Baba, Kenny Browne, Garry Comerford, Dylan Barnett, Rory Feely, Stanley Aborah, Paul Keegan, Sander Puri, Cory Galvin (Bastien Héry `60), Noel Hunt (Izzy Akinade `85)

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Regan Donelan (Seamus Sharkey `54), Kyle Callan-McFadden, Rhys McCabe, Patrick McClean, Lee J Lynch, Kris Twardex (Adam Wixted `73), Jack Keaney, John Mahon, Raffaele Cretaro (Caolin McAleer `65), Mikey Drennan.

Referee: Ben Connolly

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