The old guard came to the fore to help Dundalk to back to back league wins for the first time since February 2020 against Waterford at the RSC.
Andy Boyle opened the scoring with a 24th minute header before captain Chris Shields doubled his side's advantage from the penalty spot two minutes before the break.
Michael Duffy then wrapped up the victory for Jim Magilton’s side just 28 seconds into the second half but the end result only told part of the story of the game.
Kevin Sheedy’s side, who were only able to name three substitutes on their bench, gave a decent account of themselves and were denied by the woodwork on no fewer than three occasions throughout.
It was also a costly night for the Lilywhites who finished the game with 10 men after picking up injuries to David McMillan and Cameron Dummigan but they will take the positives from a display which produced their first back to back league wins since beating Shelbourne and Cork City back at the start of last season when Vinny Perth was in charge.
The visitors started on the front foot and could have taken the lead inside the opening two minutes when Daniel Cleary's ball up the right played McMillan in behind Cameron Evans only for the striker to pull his shot to the left and wide.
McMillan then headed wide from a Duffy cross before Cleary created another big chance on eight minutes. His quick free put Duffy in behind with his shot saved at point blank range by Paul Martin before McMillan fluffed his follow up.
Waterford did manage their first shot on goal on 11 minutes but John Martin’s snapshot from long range was straight at Peter Cherrie.
Patrick McEleney then had an effort from range go wide at the other end before the Louth men found the breakthrough on 24 minutes.
After James Waite was somewhat harshly adjudged to have fouled Shields, the resultant free kick by Duffy was met powerfully at the back post by Boyle who headed across Paul Martin to the bottom right hand corner.
Dundalk were then dealt a blow when McMillan, who had scored two in two coming into the game, limped off and this unsettled them briefly with Waterford unlucky not to pull a goal back on 34 minutes when Waite’s cross picked out John Martin, who couldn’t direct his header at the back post on target.
Adam O’Reilly then somehow failed to score after being slipped in by Martin a minute later.
Those misses were to prove crucial as the visitors upped their game before the break. Firstly Duffy had a volley from Dummigan’s cross that was straight at Paul Martin but the game was as good as over when they were awarded a penalty two minutes before the break.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe, who had replaced McMillan, was adjudged to have been pushed over inside the box by Prince Mutswunguma and captain Chris Shields stepped up to slot home from the spot for his first league goal since scoring the winner away to Cork City in September 2018.
The game was then firmly over as a contest within 28 seconds of the restart when Duffy collected a pass from Ole Erik Midtskogen before curling a superb right foot shot to the top right hand corner.
He then could have made it four moments later when he broke in on the left but on this occasion he was denied by a fine stop from Paul Martin.
Waterford continued to be positive going forward and were unlucky not to pull a goal back on 54 minutes when Waite slipped John Martin in only for his shot to come back off the butt of Cherrie’s post.
O’Reilly then had another couple of chances flash wide either side of a third effort that hit the woodwork on 67 minutes. Tunmise Sobowale kept a free kick alive with his cross falling to John Martin whose effort struck the crossbar from almost point blank range.
Waterford’s luck in front of goal was then summed when Katlego Mashigo fired over from the rebound.
Dundalk would also be denied by the frame of the goal soon after when Junior struck the outside of the post with the man who played him in, Patrick McEleney, also being denied by Paul Martin on 77 minutes.
The visitors were then dealt a blow with nine minutes to go when Dummigan limped off and, having used their three subs in three separate blocks, it meant they were forced to finish the game with 10 men.
It mattered little though as they saw the game out to continue their climb up the table.
Waterford: Paul Martin; Darragh Power, Tunmise Sobowale, Cameron Evans, Jamie Mascoll; James Waite, Niall O’Keeffe, Adam O’Reilly, Katlego Mashigo, Prince Mutswunguma; John Martin.
Subs not used: Kyle Cooke, Josh Collins, Jack Stafford.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Raivis Jurkovskis, Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Cameron Dummigan; Chris Shields, Wilfried Zahibo (Greg Sloggett 72); Ole Erik Midtskogen (Sean Murray 66), Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy; David McMillan (Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe 32).
Subs not used: Alessio Abibi, Enda Douglas, Val Adedokun, Ryan O’Kane, Mark Hanratty, Jesus Perez.
Referee: Derek Tomney (Dublin).