Waterford FC's strong finish to this season's SSE Airtricity Premier Division continued thanks to a leisurely home victory against sixth placed Sligo Rovers at the Regional Sports Centre tonight.
In truth neither side had much to play for as the home side had secured their stay in the division next season following a run of impressive away victories. Goals in either half from Rory Feely and a Regan Donelon own-goal mean they could still overtake the Bit O Red with two games remaining in the league.
Alan Reynolds was forced into a late change to the team sheet with Rory Feely replacing Tom Holland and forcing Sam Bone into midfield.
Liam Buckley made three changes from the eleven who drew with Shamrock Rovers on Saturday - Luke McNicholas started between the sticks while Johnny Dunleavy and Brian Morley replaced suspended duo Kyle Callan-McFadden and Daryl Fordyce.
The home side were in charge of the first half from the opening whistle with Michael O'Connor nodding over a flat JJ Lunney free kick but they had a huge opportunity to open the scoring on the quarter of the hour mark when John Mahon felled Walter Figueira on the byline.
The forward reluctantly handed the ball over to strike partner O'Connor but the on-loan Linfield man's low spot-kick was saved by the young Sligo net-minder.
They almost had another penalty seconds later, with Georgie Poynton's free-kick from the edge of the box beating the wall before nestling into McNicholas' arms, and Lunney, Figueira and Duggan all had half chances to give Waterford a deserved lead as the half progressed.
They finally moved in front just after the half-hour mark when JJ Lunney's clipped in-swinging cross glanced off the head of Feely and beyond the young goalkeeper.
The lead could have been doubled before the break when the front two linked up but O'Connor appeared to misread his partner's perfect cross and headed the ball back across the box instead.
Kris Twardek finally forced Matthew Connor into a save after the restart but the goalkeeper comfortably caught his left footed shot, and Sam Bone pulled an effort wide at the other end after the ball dropped to him close to goal.
The second goal finally arrived in the 52 minute when the lively Figueira paused down the right hand side and attempted to chip the ball across goal, only to see it loop perfectly over McNichlas and into the net off Regan Donelon's calf.
The visitors' first period of persistent pressure was quelled around the hour mark with Connor tipping over David Cawley's curler and Brian Morley seeing a goal-bound shot blocked.
However the Blues held on comfortably for the remainder of the game to bag their first home win since May, with a fizzing Figueira effort and Shane Duggan chance almost adding a third to their tally in the latter stages.
Waterford FC: Matt Connor; Rory Feely, Rob Slevin, Maxi Kouogun, Kevin Lynch (Power, 82); Sam Bone (Galvin, 73); Georgie Poynton, Shane Duggan (C); JJ Lunney; Michael O'Connor (O'Halloran, 65), Walter Figueira.
Sligo Rovers: Luke McNicholas; Johnny Dunleavy, Danny Kane, John Mahon, Lewis Banks; Sam Warde, Niall Morahan; Kris Twardek, David Cawley (C), Regan Donelon (Watson, 84); Brian Morley (Collins, 74).