Waterford celebrate John Martin's goal with manager Mark Bircham. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Blue Wave

Waterford's resurgence continues with win away to Drogheda

The Blues are now out of the bottom two.

Drogheda United 1

Waterford 2

Barry Landy reports from Head in the Game Park 

WATERFORD’S RESURGENCE CONTINUED as they climbed out of the bottom two thanks to a deserved 2-1 win over out-of-sorts Drogheda United.

Junior Quitirna was the match-winner late on, firing in after a smart breakaway by the visitors. John Martin’s fifth of the season had earlier given the away side the lead before Jake Hyland levelled.

Marc Bircham’s team are now above Finn Harps in the table, but they have played a game more.

Dinny Corcoran and Mark Doyle went closest for United early as Waterford, for all their possession, struggled to create anything against a resolute Drogheda rearguard.

That was despite James Brown and Dane Massey sitting out through suspension, while Hugh Douglas and Mark Hughes weren’t involved at all through injury. Waterford’s only moment of threat in the first half came moments before the whistle. Cian Kavanagh controlled Niall O’Keeffe’s pass but he dragged his shot wide of the near post.

Earlier, Corcoran was inches shy of steering Ronan Murray’s cross into the goal and Doyle evaded several Blues’ defenders before shooting off target. Mark Bircham was seeking to guide Waterford to a third successive league win for the first time in almost three years. He handed debuts to former Wolves defender Greg Halford and ex-Spurs youth Phoenix Patterson. A much-changed Waterford team to those faced by Drogheda in the opening two rounds of the season, Waterford’s last visit to Boyneside was on the opening day of the season. After that, United beat Waterford’s Under 19s after the first team suffered a Covid outbreak.

They were more competitive this time around and began the second half much improved. In fact, it took just six minutes for the visitors to hit the front. Shane Griffin’s devilishly whipped free kick needed just a flick from Martin to beat Davd Odumosu. It was his fifth goal of a productive season.

Griffin and Martin almost repeated the same trick shortly afterwards. Before that, debutant Patterson was denied by a fine Odumosu save. At the other end, Darragh Markey stung the palms of the Waterford goalkeeper but United struggled to contain a Waterford team that had upped their intensity levels considerably.

The leveller arrived just after the midway point of the second half. Dan O’Reilly’s forward ball found Ronan Murray in behind the visiting defence. He squared for Hyland and the captain couldn’t miss. But Junior ensured Waterford left Head In The Game Park with a third straight league win.

English midfielder Anthony Wordsworth was dismissed by referee David Dunne in injury time. 

Drogheda United: David Odumosu; Luke Heeney (Jordan Adeyemo, 87), Killian Philipps, Daniel O’Reilly, Conor Kane; Gary Deegan, Jake Hyland; Darragh Markey, Ronan Murray, Mark Doyle; Dinny Corcoran.

Waterford: Brian Murphy; Kyle Ferguson (Jack Stafford, 46), Greg Halford, Cameron Evans; Darragh Power; Shane Griffin, Niall O’Keeffe, Anthony Wordsworth, John Martin; Phoenix Patterson (Junior Quitirna, 75), Cian Kavanagh (Prince Mutswunguma, 69).

Referee: David Dunne

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