Finn Harps earned their first away win of the season and moved level on points with UCD again after a 1-0 success over Waterford at the RSC this evening.
Mikey Place's 80th minute penalty secured the points for Harps as they battled superbly against Alan Reynolds' men.
The home side had looked like the better side earlier in the game but the Donegal outfit grew stronger and stronger and Place’s spot-kick ensured they came away with the surprise result.
Georgie Poynton and Robert Slevin replaced Rory Feely and Kevin Lynch for the home side.
Harps made three changes with Mikey Place, Harry Ascroft and Mark Timlin coming in for Nathan Boyle, Mark Coyle and Caolan McAleer.
Waterford starter brighter in a half of little quality. Shane Duggan’s corner was headed over by Maxim Koughan in the sixth minute. That would prove to be a theme of the game with set-pieces a major part of both side’s arsenal.
JJ Lunney beautifully controlled a long pass forward and took his time to pick out Michael O’Connor as again Reynolds’ men threatened. Duggan ran onto the ball as O’Connor met traffic and pulled an effort just wide of the post.
The remainder of the half was quite uneventful but for a couple of good opening for Harps.
Ascroft lofted a ball into the box for Harps and Sam Todd, up from a previous corner, powered a head over the cross.
Then Danny O’Reilly arrived onto the loose ball after a Raffaele Cretaro corner, with Matthew Connor getting his body in the way in the Waterford goal. That was the last action of the half.
Waterford looked a bit more creative on the ball but the Harps rearguard were proving tough to break down.
Duggan had another effort from outside the box on 48 minutes with McGinley getting down to save.
The veteran Cretaro then had a pop for Harps as he ran into save 25 yards, with a fantastic hit going just wide of the top corner of the net.
O’Reilly had his heads in his hands again when arriving at the back post, connecting with the ball and failing to find the target.
The Blues looked to be running out of ideas and it was Harps looking more dangerous with Place’ ambitious shot pushed away by Connor.
Substitute Dean Walsh turned on the edge of the Harps box and sent a shot towards goal but again it was off-target.
They key moment arrived 10 minutes before the end. Cretaro played it to Place who took on Poynton and it was a clumsy challenge from the former Dundalk man as a penalty was given.
Place stepped up and slammed it into the net to give Harps the lead.
Jacob Borg combined with the ex-Sligo Rovers man Place to test Connor as Waterford sinked lower in confidence and Harps on grew in stature.
But a wonder save from McGinley was required for Harps to claim the points as Kenny Browne’s close-range header was tipped over the crossbar much to the relief of the small travelling band of Harps fans.
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor, George Poynton, Rob Slevin, Maxim Kouogan, Kenny Browne, Shane Duggan (Karolis Chvedukas 82), Tom Holland, JJ Lunney, Michael O'Connor, Cory Galvin (Will Fitzgerald 74), Dean O’Halloran (Dean Walsh 61).
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley, Jacob Borg, Mark Russell, Sam Todd, Keith Cowan, Daniel O’Reilly, Gareth Harkin, Harry Ascroft (Niall Logue 88), Mikey Place (Tony McNamee 91), Raffael Cretaro, Mark Timlin (Caolan McAleer 65).
Referee: Robert Hennessy