Waterford slip up to bottom side Finn Harps as Mikey Place's penalty secures three points at the RSC
Waterford United 0 Finn Harps 1
This was supposed to be the week Waterford were playing European football for the first time in 32 years.
Instead, this season turned into a nightmare for owner Lee Power with his side now getting sucked into a relegation battle.
Mikey Place’s penalty at the RSC with 10 minutes left secured struggling Finn Harps their first away of the season.
They remain rooted to the bottom of the table, behind UCD on goal difference, but were worthy of the three points against a Blues side also sinking into trouble.
One point from their last five games has left Alan Reynolds’ team just seven points ahead of the bottom two.
Late on in a drab contest, Place enticed George Poynton into making a tired foul and the striker dusted himself off to send Matt Connor the wrong way from the spot.
Connor had saved a penalty at Sligo Rovers last week to earn a point but he had no chance this time.
Waterford, without a victory for seven weeks, began at pace and could have scored ahead after just six minutes.
Maxim Kouogun was left unmarked to connect with Shane Duggan’s corner and his header glanced the top of the crossbar.
Duggan himself went close shortly after by raking his shot wide but Harps, relying on their wing-backs to operate on the counter-attack, finished the half stronger.
Firstly, Sam Todd flashed his header from eight yards just over and his fellow defender Danny O’Reilly drew Matt Connor into a save from point-blank range on the stroke of the break.
Harps goalkeeper Mark McGinley pulled off an excellent save to deny Cory Galvin early in the second half but Waterford look a team suffering from the recent departures of Bastien Héry, Damien Delaney and Izzy Akinade.
Still, they could have pinched a point in stoppage time. With Waterford getting bodies into the box, the ball fell to Kenny Browne but his header was turned over the crossbar by McGinley.
WATERFORD: M Connor; G Poynton, K Browne, M Kouogun, R Slevin; T Holland, S Duggan (K Chvedukas 84), JJ Lunney; C Galvin (W Fitzgerald 75), M O’Connor, D O’Halloran (D Walsh 62).
FINN HARPS: M McGinley; D O’Reilly, K Cowan, S Todd; J Borg, H Ascroft (N Logue 89), M Timlin (C McAleer 65), G Harkin, M Place (T McNamee 90+2); R Cretaro, M Russell.
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Clare).