Declan Devine's Derry City showed great desire to come out on top in a five-goal thriller at a packed Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Waterford missed a glorious chance to get an early lead as JJ Lunney’s inch-perfect pass caught out Patrick McClean, but fortunately for the left-back Zachary Elbouzedi’s shot was well saved by Peter Cherrie.
That clear-cut opportunity came back to haunt Alan Reynolds’ men as Derry took the lead a minute later when Ciaron Harkin blasted home from 20 yards, after Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe’s clever flick picked out the midfielder.
Soon after, Aaron Drinan saw his close-range strike kept out by a diving Cherrie before they had to make a change on the half-hour, Georgie Poynton replacing Kevin Lynch.
Derry missed a golden chance to add a second on 36 minutes as Barry McNamee won possession from Damien Delaney before sending David Parkhouse clear, but the striker was denied by the out-rushing Waterford keeper Matthew Connor.
Soon McCrudden should have marked his Brandywell debut with a goal, but he blasted over on the half-volley from 14 yards, after Ogedi-Uzokwe’s right wing cross had picked him out.
Waterford started the second half on the front foot and levelled just on the hour mark from the penalty spot.
After Darren Cole barged into Bastien Hery inside the box, referee Neil Doyle pointed to the spot and Shane Duggan made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Cherrie the wrong way and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
City restored their lead on 75 minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances as McClean’s left wing cross into the six-yard box was turned into his own net by right-back Rory Feely.
Two minutes later, substitute Aidy Delap was inches away from adding a third, but his snap-shot flashed just wide, after Waterford failed to clear Barry McNamee’s free-kick.
Incredibly, the visitors put the ball into their own net second a time when Harkin’s right-wing cross caused havoc in the six yard box and substitute Poynton could only manage to turn the ball.
Derry continued to pile forward in search of a fourth on goal and they should have netted on 86 minutes.
Greg Sloggett’s right-wing cross found Parkhouse but, with the goal at his mercy, he was denied by Connor.
Waterford pulled a goal back in stunning fashion, to make it a nervy finish at the Brandywell, as substitute Corey Galvin’s 25 yard wonder strike flew past Cherrie but the hosts held on to take all the points.
Derry City: Cherrie, Cole, Toal, Gilchrist, McClean; Harkin (Bruna 87), Sloggett, McNamee; McCrudden (Delap 70), Parkhouse, Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Waterford: Connor, Feely, Browne, Delaney, Lynch (Poynton 30); Lunney, Duggan, Hery; Drinan (Akinade 63), Twine (Galvin 57), Elbouzedi.
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin)