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Waterford ease relegation fears with come-from-behind win at Bohemians

Marc Bircham’s side avenged their FAI Cup semi-final defeat with victory at Dalymount Park.

Dawson Devoy with Waterford's Jack Stafford.
Dawson Devoy with Waterford's Jack Stafford.
Image: Ben Brady/INPHO

Bohemians 1

Waterford 2

Darryl Geraghty reports from Dalymount Park

WATERFORD FC LEAPFROGGED Finn Harps at the bottom of the table and out of the dreaded relegation playoff spot with a vital come-from-behind victory against Bohemians. 

Second half goals from John Martin and Anthony Wordsworth cancelled out Georgie Kelly’s first half opener to secure a win that seriously dents Bohs’ European hopes. 

Having shaken hands roughly 70 hours earlier in their dramatic and thrilling FAI Cup semi-final – in which The Blues went down to an 88th-minute Georgie Kelly winner – both sides locked horns again in an encounter with massive implications at both ends of the table.

In the race for that all important third European spot, Bohs saw both Sligo Rovers and Derry City drop points over the weekend so the door was left open to haul themselves back into the mix, but couldn’t capitalise in a frustrating night for the Phibsboro faithful.

Meanwhile, one of the leagues form sides, despite Friday’s defeat, had to do it the hard way without the suspended influential trio of Brian Murphy, Kyle Ferguson and Niall O’Keeffe.

The brilliantly named Ronaldo Green came in for his full debut and had the first shot on target for the evening but was comfortable enough for the stand-in Bohs skipper James Talbot.

The hosts looked sharp in the attacking third with wonder kid Jamie Mullins a threat cutting in off the left wing and Promise Omochere on the right side.

The league’s top marksmen Georgie Kelly was inches away from opening the scoring 11 minutes in as Omochere low cross found its way to the feet of the big man, who turned sharply but could only curl his left footed effort wide.

As the game progressed, and with a point no good to either side, it became an open affair with both teams looking dangerous, and as the halftime break approached the deadlock was finally broken, and by who else. Firstly, Dawson Devoy picked up the ball in the middle of the park and under no pressure, cut open the Waterford rearguard with a perfectly weighted ball to Georgie Kelly, who calmly rounded Paul Martin for his 20th league goal of the season.

The Donegal man is edging ever closer to Bohs legend Glen Crowe’s scoring record of 25 league goals in a single campaign, with five games remaining. 

Right from the restart the visitors meant business, and equalised after just three minutes after some crazy pin-ball in the area. Jack Stafford’s initial cross from the left found the head of Anthony Woodsworth, who forced James Talbot into an incredible save. The Bohs stopper reacted well to get back on his feet as the ball fell to Phoenix Patterson, and as they came together Patterson’s shot seemed to hit the post and fall to the feet of John Martin to bundle home on the line.

Promise Omochere really should have restored the home side’s lead almost immediately from Georgie Kelly’s cut back in the area but was met by a brave stop from Martin.

Just after the hour mark the home side were on their feet and thought they were back ahead through Omochere, but his downward header was inches wide following a mazy dribble and clipped cross by Dawson Devoy.

As is always the case at this level, if you don’t take your chances you will be punished and a lightning break from Waterford saw them go 2-1 up. The impressive Phoenix Patterson was let loose down the left, and just as he cut into the area laid the ball on a plate for Woodsworth to smash home.

It was backs to the wall for the Blues as Bohs tried desperately to get back in the game but just as the Gypsies began to build a head of steam, were dealt a massive blow as they lost their talisman, Kelly, to an injury with 18 minutes still to play. The visitors to their credit used all their experience slowing the game at every opportunity and frustrate the home crowd as valuable seconds wasted away, and in doing so denying the hosts an equaliser.

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georgie-kelly-leaves-the-field-due-to-an-injury Georgie Kelly leaves the game with injury. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

Up next for Bohs is a huge weekend in the race for Europe as they travel to Derry City on Friday night for a must-win game and then across town to take on high flying St. Patrick’s Athletic in a FAI Cup final preview.

With a vital victory under their belts Marc Bircham’s men now travel to Dundalk in a mouthwatering clash on Friday night full of confidence from tonight’s brilliant, battling win.

Bohemian FC: James Talbot (c) , Rory Feely, Ciaran Kelly, Keith Ward (Ali Coote, 66’), Georgie Kelly (Cole Kiernan, 72’), Conor Levingston (Roland Idowu, 59’), James Finnerty, Tyreke Wilson, Promise Omochere, Jamie Mullins (Ross Tierney, 59’), Dawson Devoy

Waterford FC: Paul Martin, Darragh Power, Cameron Evans, Anthony Wordsworth, Junior Quintirna, John Martin, Ronaldo Green (Shane Griffin, 65’), Jack Stafford, Greg Halford, Phoenix Patterson, Eddie Nolan (c) (Callum Stringer, 80’)

Referee: Rob Hennessy 



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