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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 29 May, 2020

Sweet victory for Waterford over the side who snatched their Europa League spot

Alan Reynolds’ men blitzed St Patrick’s Athletic in the second half this evening at Richmond Park.

Ismahil Akinade opened the scoring for Waterford (file pic).
Ismahil Akinade opened the scoring for Waterford (file pic).
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

St Patrick’s Athletic 0
Waterford 3

David Sneyd reports from Richmond Park 

SO MUCH FOR any bad blood spilling over between these sets of players following the drama of recent weeks.

St Patrick’s Athletic may have taken Waterford’s place in this season’s Europa League because of matters off the pitch, but the Blues provided a devastating reminder of their quality on it.

Alan Reynolds’ side blitzed the Saints in the second half, the introduction of Karolis Chvedukas and Ismahil Akinade injecting their play with the spark required to break the deadlock.

Two goals in six minutes – Akinade in the 63rd, followed by Zack Elbouzedi – killed any signs of life in the home side and when a third arrived via Aaron Drinan in the 88th the visiting supporters were able to take great delight in rubbing their rivals’ noses in it.

This was a grim night for Harry Kenny and Co, the plight of Chris Forrester summing up their woes as he was withdrawn for Gary Shaw at the same time Akinade was introduced.

After seeing their three-game winning run brought to a halt by Shamrock Rovers on Monday night, the Saints were looking to click back into gear in front of their own fans. They never left the driveway.

Forrester was restored to the starting line-up, effectively playing as a second striker alongside Mikey Drennan. His struggles in a Pat’s jersey continue after returning home, though. He has been utilised in various positions by Kenny in an attempt to prise his best form out of him but the search for the real Chris Forrester continues.

It looked as if the Dubliner was ready to spark back into life following his delightful chip against Sligo Rovers here a few weeks ago. Kenny will know that if he can get Forrester firing on all cylinders, creating chances and making life a misery for opponents, then excitement will build around Richmond Park.

More than that, it should help take this Pat’s team to a different level and make European qualification attainable on the pitch as opposed to in the boardroom.

The first half here offered little more than frustration and disappointment – for both sides.

Drinan wasted a glorious opportunity on the half hour, firing his shot from just right of the penalty spot harmlessly wide after the Pat’s defence was split by the precision of John Martin’s pass.

With six goals to his name already this term, the on-loan Ipswich Town striker, with a place in Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland U21 squad to boot, will be fuming he didn’t put it away. At least he was able to put it right at the end.

There will only be regret for Pat’s, while Reynolds will be delighted that his substitutes had such a positive impact. They changed the game. Chvedukas’ deft flick for Akinade opened up the space for him to finish in front of goal, an opportunity the striker wasn’t going to pass up.

Then Cory Galvin split the home side’s defence with a reverse pass which Elbouzedi capitalised on. He took a touch to steady himself and the second was a clinical finish into the far corner from the right.

Waterford’s Rory Feely struck the post attempting to clear danger in his own box soon after but there was no way back and Drinan’s third sees Waterford move to within two points of the Saints in fifth.

Now they can drive for Europe once more.

ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC: Brendan Clarke; Dave Webster, Ciaran Kelly, Lee Desmond; Simon Madden, Darragh Markey (James Doona, 71), Jamie Lennon, Conor Clifford, Ian Bermingham; Chris Forrester (Gary Shaw, 61), Mikey Drennan.

WATERFORD: Matthew Connor; Aaron Simpson (Ismahil Akinade, 60), Rory Feely, Damien Delaney, Georgie Poynton; Shane Duggan; Cory Galvin, JJ Lunney, John Martin (Karolis Chvedukas, 57), Zack Elbouzedi; Aaron Drinan.

Referee: Ray Matthews (Longford).

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to discuss all the week’s rugby news.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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David Sneyd

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