Waterford denied by McDonnell strike
Dundalk 2 Waterford United 2:Stephen McDonnell’s 75th minute equaliser secured 10-man Dundalk a 2-2 draw against a very impressive Waterford United side in the first leg of the Airtricity League promotion/relegation play-off at Oriel Park.
The home took a lead into the interval thanks to a 22nd minute opener. Stephen Maher’s ball into space set Chris Reilly away on the left. His first touch took him away from goal but his second cut the ball back perfectly for Lorcan Shannon to fire home.
Blues boss Paul O’Brien will have been delighted with the response of his side and a rattled Dundalk were soon down to 10 men when Maher received a straight red card from referee Paul McLaughlin after lashing out needlessly at Peter Higgins on the right touchline.
Dundalk’s lead lasted for just five minutes of the second-half as Waterford deservedly drew level. Slack marking on the Dundalk right allowed Paul Carey to get his cross away and Paul Phelan was in the right spot at the back post to head the ball home.
The tie was turned on its head 10 minutes later. Left back Dylan Mernagh cut back on his right foot to deliver a telling cross over the head of Chris Shields and Ben Ryan, just seconds after coming on as a substitute, guided a fantastic header into the net to put United into the lead.
The ten men refused to buckle however and half-time substitute McDonnell restored parity in the 75th minute with a 25-yard drive that flew past Packie Holden.