It’s been an up and down kind of a start to the season for Waterford to say the least.
Heartbreak in the opener after conceding an injury time goal to surrender three points at home to Shamrock Rovers. Following that, was a revitalising 2-0 win away to Cork City, then on Monday, two own-goals contributed to a 3-2 defeat at the Brandywell to Derry City.
Consistency was an issue for Alan Reynold’s side last season and the above results suggests they may struggle in the same regard in LOI 2019.
To be fair, no team has looked reliably consistent so far.
That is to say no team bar Bohs.
Three games, three wins, and despite a modest budget and modest expectations ahead of the season, they are the early pace-setters in the league so far.
A home match against Finn Harps followed by an away day at Belfield to face UCD was as forgiving a start as manager Keith Long might have hoped for. That was then followed by a scrappy but vital Dublin derby win over Shamrock Rovers.
Regardless of their handy start, three clean sheets emphasises the fact that nine points is nine points and no one else in the league has started as well.
Waterford had their way with Bohemians last season. In their four league games the Munster side won three and drew once. The aggregate from those four games read Waterford 6 Bohemians 2.
If they’re to reprise that kind of success, they’ll have to improve defensively. Played three, conceded five, doesn’t read particularly well.
Neither does the tendency to concede important goals at bad times. That last minute goal against Rovers, and on Monday, two own-goals in the last 15 minutes that put the game beyond Waterford.
Points will be hard enough to come by without the defensive errors on show against Derry. Rory Feely and Georgie Poyton’s moments of misfortune are at 2:00 and 3:00 on the below video.
— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) February 26, 2019
Bohemians will have to respect their opponent’s capabilities. It sometimes gets lost in the tumult that is Irish soccer, but Waterford were Premier Division rookies last season and scored 52 league goals (same as Bohs) from 36 games. Outside the top three sides from the last two seasons, Dundalk, Cork, and Rovers, Waterford had the best defence and goal difference.
However, ask any Bohs player or supporter and they’ll point to their form in the second half of last season. They enjoyed a nine game winning streak in all competitions from the start of August to their 1-1 draw with Cork in the FAI Cup at the end of September. Their form in the back half of last season has ran into this start of this one, Rovers was their first serious test and it was passed and passed well.
Bohemians can also boast having the form striker in the league so far. Dinny Corcoran is on a goal a game at the moment. He’s hit the final and decisive goal in all three of their games thus far. A word has to go towards his goal against the students last Friday, both he and Danny Mandroiu scored worldies.
When there’s not much more than momentum and early form to go on, there’s a fair bit to like about this Phibsborough side.
Their trip to the RCS on Friday should colour in a bit more of the picture in these early stages of the Premier Division in 2019.
Waterford and Bohemians appear to have no fresh injury concerns to report as of yet.
This section will be updated pending any injury news.
I can see Bohemians getting on the scoresheet against Waterford based on what I’ve seen from Alan Reynolds defence.
Likewise Waterford. While Bohs have defended well this season, they may find Friday’s trip to Waterford testing.
Both Teams to Score at 20/21