Waterford claimed their first three points of the new SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season as they deservedly beat Cork City 2-0 at Turner’s Cross on Friday evening.
Superb finishes from Bastien Hery and Zak Elbouzedi at the end of each half was enough to see Waterford secure the bragging rights in this first Munster derby of the new season and earning their first victory at the home of Cork City since the summer of 2011 in the process.
Alan Reynolds made two changes to the side that suffered a heartbreaking last minute 2-1 defeat at home to Shamrock Rovers last time weekend with Scott Twine and Jonathan Lunney replacing Aaron Drinan and John Martin.
Damien Delaney again captained the side on his first appearance on Leeside since he swapped Cork for Waterford during the off season and he almost gave his new club the lead in the fifth minute.
The centre back met Kevin Lynch’s cross with his head but he could only tamely direct it straight at goalkeeper Mark McNulty.
Waterford remained in complete control and Ismahil Akinade almost capitalised on hesitancy amongst the City defence moments later but McNulty gathered his weak strike from the edge of the area.
The visitors somehow failed to take the lead in the 11th minute but after Bastien Hery broke into the area and unselfishly teed up Scott Twine, the attacking midfielder’s scuffed shot allowed McNulty to make the save before it crossed the line.
John Caulfield made three changes to his side which was beaten 1-0 by St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park on the opening night of the season and it wasn’t until midway through the first half that they threatened here.
Graham Cummins did well to keep Ronan Hurley’s across alive on the end line and his pullback picked out James Tilley but his goal-bound effort was well blocked by former Cork defender Kenny Browne.
City appeared to be gaining a foothold in proceedings as the opening period drew to a close with Kevin O’Connor, Ronan Hurley and Garry Buckley all trying their luck from distance.
But with virtually the last kick off added time at the end of the half, Waterford took the lead as Bastien Hery created space just inside the box before brilliantly drilling the ball across the keeper and just inside the far bottom right corner.
The City manager made his three substitutions inside the third quarter of the game as he looked to give the majority of the 4,382 in attendance something to shout about.
Instead, it was Waterford who next threatened in the 69th minute but after good build-up play involving Hery and Shane Duggan, Scott Twine dragged his attempt inches wide of the near post.
Cork finished strongly as substitute Liam Nash twice fired wide of the top left corner from the edge of the area before Karl Sheppard saw a late shot hacked off the line by the alert Rory Feely.
As City pushed forward in additional time, they were caught on the break as Hery fed Zak Elbouzedi and the attacker emphatically thumped his strike into the roof of the net to seal an impressive win.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Conor McCarthy, Alan Bennett (Dan Casey 55), Sean McLoughlin, Ronan Hurley (Gary Comerford 45); Garry Buckley, Kevin O’Connor; Dáire O’Connor, James Tilley, Karl Sheppard; Graham Cummins.
Waterford: Matt Connor; Rory Feely, Kenny Browne, Damien Delaney, Kevin Lynch (Maxim Kougon 86); Jonathan Lunney (Karolis Chvedukas 75), Shane Duggan; Zak Elbouzedi, Bastien Hery, Scott Twine; Ismahil Akinade (Aaron Drinan 65).
Referee: Derek Tomney