Relegation contenders Dundalk and Waterford could not be separated as they played out a 1-1 draw in front of a returning and enthusiastic RSC crowd.

The Lilywhites, who arrived in the south-east looking for their first win in four Premier Division games, took an early lead through Sean Murray.

The midfielder was at the right place at the right time to turn in a square ball from Daniel Kelly, which made it 1-0 after five minutes.

Waterford’s goal came in the second half, after Anthony Wordsworth knocked in a free-kick from Shane Griffin.

FULL MATCH DETAILS

While the second half belonged to the Blues, the first was all about Dundalk, as they looked very comfortable, with each player clearly having relaxed from the early goal.

Kelly flourished during this period of the game. He nearly got a second assist when he dribbled into the box, reversed, and crossed towards the back post. Patrick Hoban tried to get a head, but the ball had too much power on it, and it floated wide.

Waterford used long balls to try and get through the Dundalk defence, but each one was taken down by Andy Boyle and the Lilywhites got back to their game plan.

The Blues brought on Jeremie Milambo to shake things up, and his first touch was a cross, which forced an excellent save from Alessio Abibi.

The home side were much more settled in the second half, and nearly equalised five miniutes in through Phoenix Patterson, who volleyed wide after spotting Abibi off his line.

The fans were back in most significant numbers for 18 months

Dundalk tried to get a second when Murray sprinted forward down the right flank, and fired at the bottom corner of goal. Brian Murphy was there to palm it away, and from the resulting set piece, the Blues cleared.

Murphy made a succession of saves early in the second half to deny Hoban and Sami-Ben Amar, which ignited the fans in the packed stands.

Waterford clearly fed off the noise, as they equalised moments later when Wordsworth turned in a cross from Shane Griffin.

Seconds from this, the creator nearly turned scorer after his free-kick floated through the penalty area and went narrowly wide.

The Blues piled men forward in injury time, and during this tense period, Junior Quitirna excelled. He lurked outside the area and was constantly alert to win the ball back for Waterford.

Everytime he tried to get through, Andy Boyle cleared Dundalk's lines, and the Blues were denied any real chance to win the game late on.

Waterford FC: Brian Murphy; Darragh Murphy, Cameron Evans (Anthony Wordsworth 45), Kyle Ferguson, Shane Griffin, Cian Kavanagh (Junior Quitirna 62), John Martin, Niall O’Keeffe (Greg Halford 72), Jack Stafford (Jeremie Milambo 36), Phoenix Patterson, Eddie Nolan.

Dundalk: Alessio Abibi; Andy Boyle, Sam Stanton, Patrick Hoban, Greg Sloggett, Sean Murray (Mayowa Animasahun 81), Sami Ben-Amar, Will Patching, Daniel Cleary, Cameron Dummigan, Daniel Kelly (Mark Hanratty 90).

Referee: John McLoughlin