Sligo Rovers goalkeeper Ed McGinty watches as a shot from Waterford’s Matthew Smith hits the back of the net during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Waterford and Sligo Rovers at the RSC in Waterford. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Matt Smith delivered a goal of the season contender to send Waterford into third spot of the League of Ireland Premier Division with five games left.
Sligo blew the opportunity of making the jump into third themselves at the RSC by failing to recover from falling behind after just nine minutes.
As occurred for the breakthrough in their last home win over St Patrick’s Athletic, a defence-splitting pass from Robbie Weir set up the Blues’ opener.
Ali Coote drifted in between the two centre-backs to nod the ball into the direction of Smith, whose 20-yard volley flew beyond Ed McGinty into the top corner.
Hesitancy by Tunmise Sobowale almost gifted the visitors a 23rd-minute equaliser.
Alex Cooper raided towards goal after dispossessing the full-back and, despite rounding goalkeeper Brian Murphy, was forced too wide to get a strike on goal.
McGinty wouldn’t be beaten by another of Smith’s long-range efforts on 27 minutes before Tyreke Wilson curled his free-kick a yard over the Sligo crossbar.
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Referee Sean Grant waved away Waterford’s claims for a penalty when Kyle McFadden floored John Martin inside the box approaching the break while Murphy had to be alert at the other end to bat away a cross-shot by David Cawley.
Immediately after the restart, Murphy was once again tested by Ronan Coughlan’s drilled shot but he was fortunate to face a Sligo strikeforce struggling for potency.
That was characterised by Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, the league’s top scorer last season, trying an audacious overhead kick with 19 minutes left which he completely miscued.
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