Waterford’s impressive start to life back in the Premier Division continued after a second-half winner from substitute Sander Puri against Bohemians kept them level with champions Cork City at the summit.

The Estonian international took just six minutes to make an impact after replacing the injured Bastien Héry at the break by bundling the ball after the line when Shane Supple failed to gather a right-wing cross from Courtney Duffus.  

It was a well-deserved fourth victory in five games for the First Division champions, as they could have made the points safe had Gavan Holohan and Duffus been more clinical with their finishing.

For the Gypsies, a third straight defeat will be a concern, especially as it took until seven minutes from full-time to produce a decent chance to nick a point when Dylan Watts dipped his volley wide of the near post. 

While Waterford made just the one change from Friday’s win at Sligo Rovers, Derek Daly replacing Dean Walsh up front, Keith Long shook things up for Bohemians.

His displeasure at losing two home games to Derry City and St Patrick’s Athletic was always going to result in changes but it was a surprise to see Keith Buckley, their marquee signing in the off-season, amongst the quartet dropped.

A pre-match downpour in the south-east generated slippery conditions and it seemed to affect both teams as each spurned a great chance to break the deadlock.

After just nine minutes, Duffus sprung the brittle Bohs’ offside trip by haring clear but he lost his footing inside the box, allowing his mishit cross to be easily cleared.

Rob Manley, chosen ahead of Dinny Corcoran as the lone Bohs frontman for his first start, was positioned perfectly on the edge of the box to connect with Karl Moore’s left-wing cross with 24 minutes gone only to scuff his effort.

That profligacy continued at the other end from the best chance of the half on the half hour. 

Stanley Aborah’s first-time delivery from the right was allowed sail all the way across to the unmarked Holohan who could only fire straight at Supple from six yards.

The most disappointing aspect to Bohemians conceding was the fact they had started the second half with some impetus. 

Instead, they got exposed down the right when Duffus gained space and his delivery was flicked on by Derek Daly for Puri to slot in from close range.

Further chances fell the way of the home side, particularly when Holohan rolled the ball wide on the hour, but they saw the game out with plenty to spare.

WATERFORD: Laurence Vigouroux; Kevin Feely (John Kavanagh 28), Kenny Browne, David Webster, Dylan Barnett; Paul Keegan; Stanley Aborah, Gavan Holohan, Bastien Héry (Sander Puri 46); Derek Daly (Dean O’Halloran 79), Courtney Duffus.

BOHEMIANS: Shane Supple; Derek Pender, Dan Casey, Rob Cornwall, Darragh Leahy; Oscar Brennan (Ian Morris 70), Dylan Watts; Paddy Kavanagh (Eoghan Stokes 76), Keith Ward, Karl Moore; Rob Manley (Dinny Corcoran 59).

Referee: Graham Kelly (Cork)