Waterford welcome Shelbourne to the RSC this Friday. Kick-of is pencilled in for 7:45.
Waterford lost their first game in 12 on Monday last away to the premier division champions, Dundalk. Waterford will be hoping to get back on track when Shelbourne come to town. Although Waterford are unbeaten in the league since the league opener against Athlone, Waterford are on a three-game winless run.
After a bad and unexpectedly poor start Shelbourne had got themselves back into the promotion race and within touching distance of the top spot. In more recent times Shels have slipped a bit off the pace with a couple of results going against them. The players are probably still questioning how they didn’t get at least a point in the Dublin Derby against UCD two weeks ago.
Shels go into the game not being able to afford a loss against their promotion rivals Waterford, as a loss would see Shels fall to ten points behind their rivals. Prior to the fixture Shelbourne manager Owen Heary will see this as a must win game. As his side sit in sixth position, seven behind opponents Waterford and eight behind table toppers Cobh Ramblers. A result against Waterford is crucial for the Dubliners.
Things have been going against Shels in recent times especially the recent fixture against UCD.
Where Shels dominated the game, but couldn’t find an opening and conceded late on to lose 1-0. Shels like Waterford will be aiming to turn there form around on Friday night.
This fixture has been extremely kind to Shelbourne in the past. Waterford have only managed a measly two home wins at the RSC since 2004. With the most recent coming in the last meeting between the sides at the RSC, when Waterford ran out 2-1 winners. The only other win came in 2011 when now currently injured, Kenny Browne scored the winning goal. Shels will be hoping to continue their good form in this fixture, but they must do it without key man, Jamie English. English scored a hat trick in the RSC last year but misses this game through suspension having recently been sent off against table toppers Cobh Ramblers. In more recent times Waterford have been getting the better of this fixture, as from the four meetings last season Waterford won three.
For the third week running Waterford face Dublin opposition, but are yet to win or lose a game. The Blues will be hoping they can end a winless run of three games when they face Shelbourne. Waterford got a taste of an away trip to top premier division opposition on Monday, when Champions Dundalk ran out 3-0 winners in the quarter final of the EA Sports Cup.
In the last league outing Waterford were left wondering how they didn’t come away with all three points against UCD, but know going into this fixture they cannot afford any missed opportunities. Waterford dropped to second following last week’s draw with UCD. Despite a recent dip in form Waterford are unbeaten in nine league games and in all competitions, have won six from the last seven home games, drawing the other.
Things have been going against the ambitious side in recent weeks. As head coach Alan Reynolds, hasn’t been able to be in the dugout in recent matches. Many key players are set for an unknown spell on the side-lines, such as goalkeeper Ian Mcloughlin, defender Kenny Browne, midfielder Sander Puri and winger Dean O’Halloran. This week after the Dundalk game it also broke that key man Tom Smith has left the club following the end of his loan spell from English football league side, Swindon Town, Jake Evans also returned to Swindon following the conclusion of his loan spell. Striker and top scorer in all competitions with 6, David McDaid came off on Monday against Dundalk with a knock and is rated doubtful for Friday’s clash with Shels.
The last meeting between the sides ended two goals apiece. A goal either side of half time from Prendergast insured Shels got a share of the spoils. Waterford came away disappointed with the result and will be hoping to put it right in the reverse fixture on Friday. One big issue for Waterford this year has been the amount of missed opportunities in front of goal, which has resulted in Waterford struggling to kill games off. Which has been shown when the Blues play away from home, as the suir-siders have only managed one win away from home thus far this season.
Shels level of inconsistency has raised questions whether they’ll be able to keep up with the promotion race. In the first round of games Shels were brushed aside by a rampant UCD, who won with ease by four goals to nil. But, in the reverse game Shels came away from the game after a marginal one goal loss feeling like they were robbed of all three points. Following the marginally big loss to UCD Shels went unbeaten in the next five games but have since lost the last three league games.
The late change to the league set up this season where just one promotion spot is up for grabs and no play off. Not only just Shels but it has increased pressure on a lot of sides as it went from eight teams fighting for three places to eight teams fight for one. It has raised a lot of questions, and one big question remains unanswered by the association. Which is, in what direction do they see the league going and what long term plan do they have in place?
A lot will be asked from a deflated Waterford side and it most certainly will be the most challenging period of the new era for the south-eastern club. But, a lot of positives were taken from the draw against UCD last week. The Blues will feel they’ve enough among their ranks to get themselves back on winning ways.
Over the years Shels have had a lot of luck go their way in this fixture but there’s been many tasty ties between the sides. A big crowd is expected Friday and the crowd will be expecting a close and tasty encounter.
Last 10 Competitively Meetings
2017 – Shelbourne 2-2 Waterford
2016 – Shelbourne 0-1 Waterford
Waterford 2-1 Shelbourne
Shelbourne 0-2 Waterford
Waterford 1-4 Shelbourne
2015 – Shelbourne 3-0 Waterford
Waterford 1-2 Shelbourne
Shelbourne 1-0 Waterford
Waterford 2-2 Shelbourne
2014 – Waterford 1-3 Shelbourne
Dundalk 3-0 Waterford (EA Sports Cup)
Waterford 1-1 UCD
Cabinteely 0-0 Waterford
Waterford 2-0 Cobh Ramblers (EA Sports Cup)
Waterford 2-1 Athlone
David McDaid – 4 goals
Mark O’Sullivan – 4 goals
Patrick McClean – 2 goals
David McDaid – The former Cliftonville man has found his feet quickly with his new club. Davy is the clubs top scorer in all competitions with 6 goals.
Patrick McClean – Derry native has quickly become a fan favourite and a key part of the Waterford defence. The defender has also chipped in with a couple of goals with the most important coming late against Cobh when Waterford ran out 2-1 winners.
Shelbourne 0-1 Cobh Ramblers
Bohemians 0-3 Shelbourne (Leinster Senior Cup)
Shelbourne 0-1 UCD
Shelbourne 0-2 Longford Town (EA Sports Cup)
Longford Town 2-0 Shelbourne
Derek Pendergast – 4 goals
Adam Evans – 3 goals
Jamie English & Dayle Rooney – 2 goals
Derek Prendergast – Experienced defender joined Shels from Dublin rivals Bohemians during the off-season. Prendergast has been just as effective at both ends of the pitch. The defender is Shels top scorer with four league goals.
Dean Delaney – LOI veteran and former Blue also swapped Bohemians for Shels during the offseason. Delaney has a wealth of experience behind him and is one of the best keepers in the division despite his age. Owen Heary will be hoping the shot stopper will be in top form for the trip to Waterford.
Injured: Ian McLoughlin, Kenny Browne, Sander Puri and Dean O’Halloran
Doubtful: Patrick McClean, Gary Delaney, Shane O’Connor, Anthony McAlevey and David McDaid
Injured: Chris Lyons, Dylan Kavanagh and Aidan Collins
Doubtful: Adam O’Connor
Suspended: Jamie English
Referee: David Keeler
Assistants: Trevor Cotter & Eoin Harte
Fourth Official: Paul Tuite
Betting (Paddy Power)
Waterford 1-0 Shelbourne