Waterford FC and Derry City both missed the opportunity to pick up three valuable points in their SSE Airtricity League clash tonight at the RSC as they played out a lively 1-1 draw.
The home side have been slumping towards danger since they were awoken from dreams of European football earlier this season but Michael O'Connor's first half equaliser cancelled out Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's chested goal to ensure they picked up a first point in five as Declan Devine's men missed the chance to draw level with third placed Bohemian FC.
Alan Reynolds made six changes from the side who were defeated by Shamrock Rovers on Monday night - with Zack Elbouzedi, Shane Duggan and Walter Figueira among those introduced - while captain Barry McNamee and top scorer David Parkhouse were brought into their opponents' starting eleven after the Candystripes were knocked out of the FAI Cup by Dundalk last weekend.
The visitors took the lead in the 11th minute when Parkhouse, McNamee and Junior combined and while the captain saw his effort blocked, the second phase of the attack ended with the on-loan Colchester United winger chesting Ciaran Coll's cross over the line.
The same trio combined minutes later, with Parkhouse scooping over following McNamee's perfectly weighted ball in behind, and the visitors were looking far more fluid in attack, although their play eventually spurred Waterford into action.
Midway through the half Elbouzedi sent Figueira down the left hand side to create a chance for John Kavanagh although the onrushing Peter Cherrie kept out his low effort, and the Blues almost shot themselves in the foot when Kouogun misjudged the flight of the ball on a breezy night to play in Parkhouse, although his effort was kept out by Matt Connor's feet.
Eoin Toal blocked an on-target Figueira volley as the game approached half time before the home side scored a deserved equaliser in the 43rd minute as O'Connor nodded in Kavanagh's out-swinging cross at the back post.
Gerardo Bruna floated a pass behind the Blues backline at the beginning of the second half after Connor's poor goalkick but the netminder made up for his mistake by tipping Michael McCrudden's volley wide and the keeper was called into action again minutes later when he pushed away McNamee's 25-yard shot.
At the other end Kenny Browne headed Georgie Poynton's corner narrowly wide as both sides pushed for a lead - with a Jamie McDonagh daisy-cutter screaming across the Blues goal as the match moved into the final third.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing quarter of an hour - McCrudden and Toal heading off target for the Candystripes while Figueira saw a right footed effort blocked by Cherrie following Poynton's cute ball in behind - but each had to settle for a point apiece as Neil Doyle blew the final whistle shortly after Shane Duggan lifted Poynton's cutback over the bar.
Waterford FC: Matthew Connor; John Kavanagh, Maxi Kouogun, Kenny Browne, Kevin Lynch; Georgie Poynton, Sam Bone, Shane Duggan; Zack Elbouzedi (O'Halloran, 69); Michael O'Connor, Walter Figueira (Fitzgerald, 88).
Substitutes: Paul Martin (GK), JJ Lunney, Tom Holland, Dean O'Halloran, Cory Galvin, Will Fitzgerald, Rob Slevin.
Derry City FC: Peter Cherrie, Jamie McDonagh, Eoin Toal, Ally Gilchrist, Ciaran Coll; Gerardo Bruna (Malone, 67), Grant Gillespie; Michael McCrudden (Delap, 88), Barry McNamee, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (McCauley, 61); David Parkhouse.
Substitutes: Nathan Gartside (GK), Mark McCrystal, Aidy Delap, Ronan Boyce, Darren McCauley, Jack Parke, Jack Malone.Referee: Neil Doyle