Dundalk’s losing run in the league came to an end at the RSC but Vinny Perth’s side remain second from bottom of the table after being held by Waterford.
Sean Murray’s 5th minute opener looked like it had set the visitors on the path to victory as they bossed the first half proceedings as the home side had to wait until the 72nd minute for their first attempt on target.
However, Marc Bircham’s men roared back into the game in the second half with substitute Anthony Wordsworth grabbing a soft 77th minute equaliser that set up a frantic finale, with the men in white lucky to escape the south east with a point.
The visitors got off to a dream start by taking the lead with less than five minutes on the clock. A quickly taken free by Will Patching released Daniel Kelly on the right with the winger working a ball inside to Sean Murray who managed to bundle it home despite Kyle Ferguson’s attempted intervention.
The Lilywhites would continue to dominate the chances after that. Sami Ben Amar would head over a minute later before Sam Stanton stung the palms of Brian Murphy from long range on 21 minutes.
Patching then flashed a good chance just over from the edge of the box after being picked out by Stanton’s throw six minutes later.
Dundalk then should have doubled their lead on 32 minutes when they broke through Kelly with Hoban looking like he had picked out Murray in the centre only for the midfielder to fresh air his attempt having been put off by Cameron Evans.
Waterford failed to test Alessio Abibi in the first half but there was a slight scare in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Eddie Nolan flashed a shot across the face of goal after the Dundalk defence had failed to deal with Shane Griffin’s cross.
The visitors were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men within four minutes of the restart though when Daniel Cleary made a lunging challenge on Phoenix Patterson. Fortunately for him referee John McLoughlin awarded just a yellow card with Niall O’Keeffe and Pat Hoban also booked for their part in the minor melee that followed.
Patterson then should have levelled matters on 54 minutes when a poor punch by Abibi fell to him 12 yards out but the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee could only drill wide.
Murray then drilled over five minutes later with an effort that led to a corner which Ferguson headed clear.
Ben Amar then had a big chance to make it 2-0 on 73 minutes when he was picked out unmarked at the back post by Kelly’s right wing cross but his downward header was pushed away by Murphy.
Waterford then levelled on 77 minutes when Dundalk failed to deal with Griffin’s ball into the box with substitute Wordsworth getting enough of a header on it for the ball to trickle past Abibi to the bottom right hand corner.
The Blues then almost took the lead three minutes later when an inswinging free from Griffin crept centimetres wide of Abibi’s right hand post with the goalkeeper frozen still.
Waterford pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages but despite intense pressure couldn’t unlock a Dundalk defence in which Andy Boyle, Daniel Cleary, Sam Stanton and Cameron Dummigan excelled, as well as teenage substitute Mayowa Animasahun.
Waterford: Brian Murphy; Darragh Power, Kyle Ferguson, Eddie Nolan, Jack Stafford (Jeremie Milambo 37); Cameron Evans (Anthony Wordsworth HT); Shane Griffin, Niall O’Keeffe (Greg Halford 73), Phoenix Patterson, John Martin; Cian Kavanagh (Junior Quitirna 62). Subs not used: Matthew Connor, George Forrest, Max Hutchison, Isaac Tshipamba, Prince Mutswunguma.
Dundalk: Alessio Abibi; Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Sam Stanton; Greg Sloggett, Will Patching; Daniel Kelly, Sean Murray (Mayowa Animasahun 84), Sami Ben Amar; Patrick Hoban. Subs not used: Cameron Yates, Peter Cherrie, Michael Duffy, Han Jeong-woo, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Jack Kavanagh.
Referee: John McLoughlin (Roscommon).