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Waterford FC fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Shamrock Rovers on Monday afternoon, in-front of a packed out RSC with over 3,600 fans in attendance.

Roberto Lopes, who replaced the injured Lee Grace in the first-half, headed home a 71st-minute winner after the Blues had levelled through Robbie McCourt following Darragh Burns opener ten minutes into the second-half as Stephen Bradley’s side made it three wins on the trot. 

A tentative opening 45 minutes was limited in terms of chances with Graham Burke cracking in an early shot on four minutes that was saved by Sam Sargeant before Richie Towell also tested the Blues netminder with a shot soon afterwards. 

Aaron Greene could have put his side in front on 26 minutes only to head wide of an open goal after Markus Poom before the match winner was introduced just past the half-hour mark in place of Lee Grace, who limped off injured, with Graham Burke’s thunderous free-kick going wide. 

After Waterford had a penalty appeal turned down for handball on 52 minutes, they found themselves a goal down three minutes later. A simple long ball over the top from a Poom free-kick split the Waterford defence, and after Darragh Burns took the ball past Sargeant, he slotted left-footed to an empty net. 

But the home side were level on 64 minutes from a set-piece when substitute Maleace Asamoah was tripped on the edge of the penalty area, and Robbie McCourt beat Leon Pohls at his near post with a deflected left-footed free-kick that brought joyous scenes from the home faithful. 

But the champions regained their lead with a fine goal seven minutes later when Conan Noonan got first run down the left before putting in a pin-point cross that found the head of Roberto Lopes, who planted a header past Sam Sargeant from close-range. 

Rovers boss Stephen Bradley made a triple change on 77 minutes that took the edge out of the game as they comfortably saw out the remainder of the contest as the Blues put up a brave fight, but their defensive lapses once again proved costly at the call of time.

Waterford FC: Sargeant, Power, Forde (81′ Arubi), Horton, Radkowski (C), McCourt (90′ McMenamy), McDonald (62′ Macadam), McCormack, Parsons, Evans (62′ Asamoah), Amond. 

Shamrock Rovers: Pohls, Hoare, Grace (C) (31′ Lopes), Cleary, Burns, Noonan (77′ Clarke), O’Neill, Towell (62′ Nugent), Poom, Greene (77′ Dillon), Burke (77′ Honohan). 

Attendance: 3681