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Impressive Waterford inch closer to European finish with big win away at the Brandywell

First-half goals from Dessie Hutchinson and Gavan Holohan saw Waterford secure an important win against Derry City.

Gavan Holohan celebrates scoring for Waterford.
Gavan Holohan celebrates scoring for Waterford.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Derry City 1

Waterford FC 2

Simon Collins reports from the Brandywell

WATERFORD TOOK ANOTHER big step towards cementing third spot with a crucial victory over Derry City at the Brandywell on Friday, thanks to first-half goals from Dessie Hutchinson and Gavan Holohan.

It was the Blues third win of the season over the Candystripes as they moved eight points clear of Kenny Shiels’ men who will concede defeat in the race for Europe.

Hutchinson handed the visitors a deserved lead after nine minutes when he linked up with Noel Hunt before firing into the net from 10 yards.

Dean Shiels got Derry back on terms just after the half hour mark when he finished from close range, but Holohan struck on the stroke of half-time with what proved to be the winner.

Shiels claimed the pressure was all on Waterford to cement third spot in the build-up to the match but it was the home side who were under the cosh during the opening stages.

Waterford’s Sander Puri found Hutchinson in space on the right flank on seven minutes and his dangerous cross was met by the head of Gavan Holohan at the front post.

Kenny Shiels Derry City manager Kenny Shiels. Source: Lorcan Doherty/INPHO

However, Aaron Splaine did enough to put him off and he headed over the bar.

Two minutes later and the ball was in the back of the Derry net as Hutchinson got onto the end of a sublime pass from Noel Hunt and planted the ball high into the net from 10 yards.

It was no more than the Blues deserved and Puri came close to a second on 23 minutes when he turned Gavin Peers inside the penalty area but his shot was deflected narrowly over the bar by Darren Cole.

From Garry Comerford’s resultant corner, Izzy Akinade rose highest but directed his header wide of the far post.

Despite Waterford’s dominance Derry found an equaliser when Hucthinson failed to clear Rory Hale’s fizzed cross and Shiels was on hand to slot in the loose ball from close range for his first goal for the club.

Gerard Doherty breathed a sigh of relief when Hunt’s drilled free-kick from 35 yards hit the side netting on 38 minutes.

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Waterford regained the initiative in stoppage time when Holohan raced into the box and his shot took a wicked deflection past Doherty off the outstretched leg of Cole at the near post.

Waterford started on the front foot in the second half and Akinade raced past Peers with ease but Doherty got a touch to his shot to deflect it wide of the far post.

At the other end Roy did superbly to get in behind the Waterford defence after a long punt upfield from Cole.

The striker beat two defenders when cutting back onto his left foot but sent his shot wide of the target from just inside the 18 yard box.

Doherty produced a crucial block at point blank on 64 minutes when Akinade steered Hutchinson’s cross towards goal.

Hunt somehow powered his header over the crossbar from six yards when Rory Feely found him superbly with a cross from the right.

Waterford midfielder, Puri slotted the ball through the legs of Cole before his was shot saved by the feet of Doherty with five minutes remaining,

City substitute, Jamie McDonagh did well to find Roy on the penalty spot and the Scotsman’s flick cannoned back off the crossbar in the final minute as the hosts pressed for a late equaliser that never materialised.

DERRY CITY: Doherty; Cole, Peers (McDonagh 87), Seaborne, McHattie; Ronan Hale, Splaine (Fisk 70), Rory Hale, Shiels; McEneff; Roy.

WATERFORD FC: Connor: Feely, Browne, Webster, Comerford; Holohan, Hery, Hutchinson (Keegan 85), Puri; Hunt, Akinade (O’Halloran 76)

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

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Simon Collins

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