Galway United go top of the league after defeating Waterford FC 1-0 at the RSC on Friday night.
The Tribesmen maintained their perfect start to the campaign with their third win in as many games to move to the summit of the SSE Airtricity League First Division. Vincent Borden scored the only goal of the game to claim all three points and also extend his goal tally for the season to three.
United started the game with intent as Ed McCarthy picked up possession and began one of his driving runs towards the Waterford goal before being fouled and winning a free kick in a dangerous area just outside the box. Regan Donelan struck the subsequent set piece just over the bar.
United continued to create chances in the opening 10 minutes, with the notable chance coming through Rob Slevin’s header which struck the crossbar after a dangerous Donelan delivery from a free kick.
United held Waterford to very few efforts on goal, with the best being a long-range strike from Chris Conn-Clarke after 14 minutes which had to be tipped over the bar by Galway’s impressive Brendan Clarke in goal.
The Tribesmen controlled the first half and were always threatening to break down the defensive Waterford shape with both Ronan Manning and Ed McCarthy causing trouble down their respective flanks. Stephen Walsh struck low and forced a smart save from Waterford goalkeeper Paul Martin which resulted in a corner after 22 minutes of the first half.
The ensuing corner was whipped in by Manning and found Vincent Borden at the back post who rose highest to head past Martin and give Galway a well-deserved lead.
United dominated possession for the rest of the half and looked solid defensively which was a feature throughout this game. Waterford struggled to create chances and their danger man Wassim Aouachria failed to get any joy out of the strong Galway central defensive pairing of Rob Slevin and Killian Brouder.
Galway kicked off the second half and continued in the same fashion as the first. The first chance of the half fell to Stephen Walsh as he headed just over the bar from close range after 53 minutes. Just a couple of minutes later a United free kick was laid into the path of Borden whose right footed strike from range was tipped just wide of the post by Martin.
The Blues made a double change, bringing Ronan Coughlan and Shane Griffin into the fray, and they began to see more of the ball for a period of the second half but still couldn’t find a way to break United down. The Tribesmen continued to threaten on the counter-attack with pace throughout this spell with Ed McCarthy having an effort on goal before Ronan Manning showed his quality when he beat his man Darragh Power, resulting in a cynical foul and a yellow card for the Waterford man.
Waterford’s best opportunity of the half came from a header by former Crewe Alexandra centre back Eddie Nolan which forced a great save from Galway’s number 1 Brendan Clarke.
The Tribesmen held firm in the final quarter frustrating and limiting Waterford to set pieces which were well defended by the United defence. Maurice Nugent and Conor O’Keeffe were introduced in the 86thminute to see out the final stages of the game in place of David Hurley and Player of the Match Vincent Borden who impressed once again in maroon.
The 1-0 victory sees Galway United climb to the top of the league table, winning maximum points from their opening three games, and looking strong defensively having only conceded one goal which came from the penalty spot on the opening day.
Galway United: B. Clarke, C. Horgan, R. Slevin, K. Brouder, R. Donelan, E. McCarthy, C. McCormack, V. Borden (M. Nugent 86’), R. Manning (M. Rowe 72’), D. Hurley (C. O’Keeffe 86’), S. Walsh (R. Manley 90’).
Waterford FC: P. Martin, D. Power (T. Sobowale 69’), R. Burke, N. O’Keeffe (T. Oluwa 81’), E. Nolan, B. Baggley, C. Conn-Clarke (C. Parsons 69’), R. Idowu (R. Coughlan 58’), G. Phillips, D. McMenemy (S. Griffin 58’), W. Aouachria.