Clarke makes his mark as Pat's come from behind to condemn Blues to third defeat in a week
Waterford 1 St. Patrick's Athletic 2
DEAN CLARKE crowned his first league start since March by firing St Pat’s to victory at Waterford.
Harry Kenny’s side has to come from behind to consign Waterford to their third defeat in a week.
Conor Clifford should have done better for the Saints with the best chance created of the opening exchanges.
Neat interplay by Simon Madden and Jake Walker on 26 minutes set up Clifford to shoot from the edge of the box but he could only fire his low effort straight at goalkeeper Matt Connor.
Dean O’Halloran, on his first start for Waterford since returning from a loan spell at Bray, scampered clear on the counterattack moments later only for Brendan Clarke to charge from his goal and clear the danger.
Something special was required to ignite a dull contest and Cory Galvin provided it with the opener on the half hour.
Dean Walsh held the ball up for Galvin to arrive on the left and he turned inside onto his favoured right foot to sweep a drive from 20 yards across Clarke into the far corner.
The home crowd were still celebrating that breakthrough when Clifford changed the mood at the RSC.
With Waterford expecting Jamie Lennon to launch a 40-yard free-kick into the box, he instead rolled the ball into the path of his unmarked fellow midfielder. Clifford took one touch before unleashing a rising shot that sailed high into the top corner.
Clarke went close to finding a second for the Saints approaching the break. Once again, Clifford was centrally involved with a deft pass to Madden. Clarke was first onto the cut-back, yet his first-time effort smacked off the near upright.
He wouldn’t have to rue that miss as Clarke got his angles right for the winner on 62 minutes.
Kevin Toner’s cross found the winger at the far post and, though his header rebounded off Georgie Poynton, he seized on the rebound to smash home from six yards.
WATERFORD: M Connor; R Feely, K Browne, M Kouogun, K Lynch (G Poynton 46); B Héry, S Duggan; D O’Halloran, J Martin, C Galvin (JJ Lunney 64); D Walsh (T Holland 64).
ST PATRICK’S ATH: B Clarke; S Madden, L Desmond, C Kelly, K Toner; J Lennon; D Clarke (D Markey 75), C Clifford, I Bermingham; J Walker (G Shaw 58).
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).