Cork City's hopes of avoiding relegation from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division have suffered another serious blow as they drew 0-0 with Munster rivals Waterford at Turner’s Cross.
City missed a number of great opportunities on the night - they have only scored eight goals all season - and that cost them dear as they now remain bottom of the table, one point behind Finn Harps who now have two games in hand.
Interim manager Colin Healy made two changes from his side that was beaten 2-0 by Dundalk on Tuesday evening with Alec Byrne and Cory Galvin replacing Uniss Kargbo and Alan Bennett.
Knowing they needed a win to keep themselves in with a good chance of avoiding the drop into the First Division, City started brightly and they threatened to take the lead inside two minutes but Alec Byrne’s header from Kevin O’Connor’s free was well saved at his back post by Brian Murphy.
Waterford’s interim boss Fran Rockett made just the one alteration from his team that narrowly lost 1-0 at home to Shelbourne a week ago with Darragh Power coming in for Tumise Sobowale, who dropped to the substitute’s bench.
They went close to scoring themselves during the lively opening exchanges but Matthew Smith’s header from Will Fitzgerald’s superb in-swinging cross drifted past the far left post.
City remained on top of proceedings and winger Dylan McGlade twice went close to finding the net after combining with Deshane Dalling.
First, the winger released Dalling with a clever flick over the top of the Waterford rearguard before the striker returned the ball into the path of McGlade but his powerful hit was straight at Brian Murphy. Moments later the pacy pair again linked up but on this occasion, McGlade could only blast Dalling’s lay off wide of the far right post.
Waterford, who were looking for the win that would see them climb back above Dundalk and into third in the league table, responded well to those let-offs and they soon grabbed control of proceedings.
A loose pass out from the back by Jake O’Brien gave Kurtis Byrne a sight at goal from 40 yards but the striker’s lob drifted harmlessly over the bar.
The visitors again went close late in the first half with Byrne producing a good save from Liam Bossin with a curler from just inside the box before Darragh Power sent a volley across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the back stick.
Following a tame opening to the second period, Dalling twice tried his luck from long range but both attempts were easily claimed by Murphy.
The Waterford number one then did brilliantly to tip a McGlade piledriver over before the home side piled more players forward in search of that elusive goal.
They thought they had finally got it with 14 minutes remaining as Cian Coleman rose highest to head home from a corner but their joy was short-lived as the referee signalled for a free out instead.
City, to their credit, battled until the end and they somehow failed to score in the closing stages with Dalling, substitute Kit Elliott - who saw a shot somehow saved by Murphy from a couple of yards - and Coleman all squandering chances.
In the end, they could have lost it as former Republic of Ireland striker Daryl Murphy missed three guilt-edged chances for Waterford as the sides took a share of the spoils.
Cork City: Liam Bossin; Henry Ochieng, Joseph Olowu, Jake O’Brien, Kevin O’Connor; Alec Byrne (Kit Elliott 63), Gearoid Morrissey, Cory Galvin (Cian Bargary 56); Cian Coleman, Dylan McGlade (Beineon O’Brien-Whitmarsh 79), Deshane Dalling.
Waterford: Brian Murphy; Darragh Power (Tunmise Sobowale 90), Jake Davidson, Robert McCourt, Tyreke Wilson; Will Fitzgerald, Robbie Weir, Niall O’Keeffe, Matthew Smith; Allistar Coote (Will Longbottom 68); Kurtis Byrne (Daryl Murphy 56)
Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).