Adam Foley got Finn Harps back to winning ways by coming off the bench and scoring to inflict a fifth straight defeat on bottom side Waterford FC.

Marc Bircham's Blues led at the RSC through Jamie Mascoll’s third-minute opener, only for Barry McNamee to equalise with a penalty on 75 before substitute Foley completed the comeback less than a minute later.

Still missing a clutch of players due to a recent Covid-19 outbreak at the club, Bircham made just one change from the side beaten 1-0 by Derry City on Friday.

Cian Kavanagh recovered from a broken wrist to come on in that match and did enough to dislodge Eric Molloy.

For Harps, Johnny Dunleavy came in for the suspended Dave Webster while Mark Russell, Tunde Owolabi, Sean Boyd also got the nod from Ollie Horgan, who was sitting in the stand serving the last match of his touchline ban.

Teen striker Kavanagh made an instant impression by playing his part in ending Waterford's near eight-hour goal drought.

Defender Mascoll started the move by finding Adam O’Reilly in midfield and he swept the ball onto Kavanagh.

Spotting Mascoll continuing his run, the tall forward freed the full-back, who raided into the box and slotted his shot inside Mark McGinley’s near post.

Harps’ stand-in skipper Barry McNamee squandered their first chance on nine minutes by blazing over after goalkeeper Brian Murphy was caught outside of the box, while the unmarked Josh Collins was also wasteful at the other end by firing straight at McGinley.

After belatedly getting a grip in midfield, the visitors dominated the closing stages of the half without making it count.

Boyd, starting ahead of Foley, saw his close-range header on the half hour denied by a brilliant save from Murphy.

His strike partner Tunde Owolabi then created but missed a hat-trick of chances. Firstly, he had a goal disallowed for shoving Darragh Power on his way into the box before Murphy batted away his stinging snapshot. He beat the Blues keeper on the stroke of the break, only to angle his curler a yard wide.

The one-way traffic continued after the break, with Waterford sitting deeper. On the hour, Owolabi shook off Collins to tee up Boyd in space but Murphy was again equal to the rising shot.

Ethan Boyle headed over from two yards as the pressure intensified and the inevitable turnaround loomed.

It started when they were awarded a penalty for Power’s mistimed challenge on Owolabi, allowing McNamee to convert his penalty down the middle of Murphy’s goal.

Harps then hit the front less than 60 seconds later. Once Waterford lost possession in midfield, Foley charged past Cameron Evans from the halfway line before drilling a low shot across Murphy into the far corner from an acute angle.

That swift concession deflated the battling Blues, whose only opportunity to eke out a draw came in stoppage time through substitute Molloy but he was thwarted in the air by McGinley.

Waterford FC: Brian Murphy; Darragh Power, Josh Collins, Cameron Evans, James Mascoll; Niall O’Keefe, Shane Griffin; Adam O’Reilly, John Martin, James Waite; Cian Kavanagh (Eric Molloy 71).

Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Kosovar Sadiki, Shane McEleney, John Dunleavy; Ethan Boyle, Mark Coyle (Karl O’Sullivan 61), Barry McNamee (Tony McNamee 90), Will Seymor, Mark Russell (Mark Timlin 72); Tunde Owolabi, Sean Boyd (Adam Foley 61).

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).