Dundalk keep winning run going against tardy Blues
Dundalk 2 Waterford 0
Just 17 days after a win over Dundalk prompted talk of Waterford making a title charge, a return meeting ended it.
Dundalk have won all four games since that encounter and they are now ten points clear of a Blues side that came here off the back of a shocking 6-3 defeat to Limerick last Friday.
The league leaders lost their captain Stephen O'Donnell to a shocking leg break in that RSC encounter but the point was drilled home here that they have the quality and depth to overcome it. Indeed, when Dane Massey was lost to injury at half-time, Stephen Kenny was able to bring in Dean Jarvis - a first choice for Derry last term.
The relentless schedule is finding other teams out and Waterford are beginning to feel the strain.
A muscle injury that forced 33-year-old Paul Keegan off during the first half made the point well.
That loss, allied to Stanley Aborah's suspension and the inability of Courtney Duffus to play on an artificial pitch, left the visitors vulnerable.
They had kept Dundalk level until the 93rd minute on their first visit here and followed that up a win in an end-to-end affair on their own patch.
But they were sluggish from the outset last night and it cost them as the damage was done when they came out for the second half and actually put it up to the hosts.
Robbie Benson's 39th minute effort left them chasing the game.
The opening goal came after a protracted spell of Dundalk dominance, which featured a dozen corners.
Chris Shields was in fine form and his driving intelligent run had fashioned the opportunity to Duffy to tee up Benson's strike.
Patrick Hoban should have doubled the advantage from the restart, with an unhelpful bobble contributing to his wild miss when Dylan Connolly had laid the ball on a plate for him.
The Blues showed some attacking ambition that gave the quite subdued home support an anxious moment or two and there were vain shouts for a penalty when makeshift striker Rory Feely went down in the box before Dundalk got a real fright when Sander Puri struck a shot off an upright with a minute remaining.
Dundalk responded by putting the game to bed, with Duffy seizing on a Blues error to tee up sub Marco Tagbajumi for his first league goal.
Dundalk - Rogers, Hoare, Gartland, Cleary, Massey (Jarvis 45); Shields, Benson; Connolly (Adorjan 66), McGrath, Duffy; Hoban (Tagbajumi 70)
Waterford - Vigouroux, Feely, Browne, Webster, Barnett; Keegan (Puri 33); Hery, Holohan; Martin (Daly 74); O'Halloran (Kasmi 58), Akinade
ref - R Hennessy (Limerick)