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Howitzer is enough for Blues

Waterford 1

Sligo Rovers 0

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Ed McGinty is beaten

Ed McGinty is beaten

SPORTSFILE

Ed McGinty is beaten

MATT SMITH'S goal-of-the-season contender was enough to propel Waterford into third spot with five games of the season left.

Sligo could have made the jump into third themselves with victory at the RSC but never recovered from falling behind after just nine minutes.

As occurred for the breakthrough in their last home win, over St Patrick's Athletic, a defence-splitting pass from Robbie Weir led to Waterford's opener.

Ali Coote nipped between the two centre-backs to nod the ball into the direction of Smith, whose 20-yard volley sailed into the top corner.

Tunmise Sobowale then almost gifted the visitors a 23rd-minute equaliser.

Alex Cooper raided towards goal after dispossessing the full-back and, despite rounding goalkeeper Brian Murphy, was forced too wide to get a strike on goal.

McGinty wasn't beaten by another long-range effort on 27 minutes, before Tyreke Wilson curled his free-kick a yard over the Sligo crossbar.

Referee Sean Grant waved away Waterford's claims for a penalty when Kyle McFadden floored John Martin inside the box approaching the break, while Murphy had to be alert at the other end to bat away a cross-shot by David Cawley.

Straight after the restart, Murphy was then tested by Ronan Coughlan's drilled effort, but he was fortunate to face a Sligo strike force struggling for potency.

That was summed up when Junior, the league's top scorer last season when he was with Derry City, attempted an audacious overhead kick with 19 minutes left, which he completely scuffed as Sligo failed to score in the league for a third game on the trot.

WATERFORD: Murphy; Sobowale, Davidson, McCourt, Wilson; Weir, O'Keeffe (Griffin 74); Fitzgerald (Longbottom 83), Martin (Byrne 72), Coote; Smith.

SLIGO ROVERS: McGinty; Banks, Buckley, McFadden, Donelon; Cawley, Morahan; Junior (Noone 84), De Vries (Devers 70), Cooper (Murray 70); Coughlan.

REFEREE: Sean Grant (Wexford).