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Maleace Asamoah produced a stunning display of finishing to help Waterford FC to their third win in a week in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division as he scored a hat-trick as his side proved far too good for bottom side Dundalk FC in front of a 2,178 crowd at the RSC on Friday evening.

Going into the game following back-to-back wins on the road, Asamoah set the tone with an early goal and the attacker hit a crucial second before saving the best for last with a stunning third as the Blues moved up to fourth spot in the table. 

With Dundalk losing keeper George Shelvey to a ten-match ban following his sending off in the aftermath of the Louth derby draw against Drogheda, replacement netminder Ross Munro gifted the home side the lead on two minutes. His rushed clearance was picked up by Maleace Asamoah out on the left, who skipped past two tackles before cutting in the area to fire a right-footed effort to the far corner. 

It was a dream start for the hosts, who had a penalty appeal waved away two minutes later when Connor Parsons went down in the area, and their early dominance saw a good chance fall to Dean McMenamy on ten minutes, but his shot was saved by keeper Munro. 

Goalscorer Asamoah went down in the area on ten minutes under pressure from a Dundalk player, but referee David Dunne penalised the attacker for handball before Dundalk levelled at the opposite end on 22 minutes. 

Jamie Gullan played a perfectly waited pass into the path of Robbie Benson on the left-side of the area, and he stirred a left-footed finish to the far corner. 

After going out of the game when conceding that 22nd minute goal, the Blues regained their lead with a sweeping move down the right a minute before the break. Darragh Power fed Connor Parsons down the flank before he crossed into the centre where Maleace Asamoah placed his second past Ross Munro. 

With Dundalk losing goalscorer Robbie Benson on 52 minutes, Waterford took full advantage to net their third seconds later. Dean McMenamy’s corner was cleared to Connor Parsons, who saw his shot deflect off Zak Johnson for Grant Horton, who set up Christie Pattisson, and he blasted high to the roof of the net. 

Dundalk had a chance at goal just past the hour mark when Koen Oostenbrink laid the ball off to Jamie Gullan, but his effort from distance just about cleared Sam Sargeant’s crossbar. 

Blues Head Coach Keith Long was able to make three substitutions in quick succession with Harvey Macadam, Ben McCormack and Niall O’Keeffe entering the fray, and it was the former that turned provider for the third goal on 76 minutes.

Macadam’s ball from inside his own half wasn’t dealt with by Dundalk sub John Mountney, and when the ball broke to Asamoah 25-yards from goal, he delicately chipped keeper Ross Munro from 25-yards for his hat-trick with a magnificent finish.

The sound of the final whistle had the Waterford fans on their feet as they saw a home performance that they could take many positives from as brilliant week for the Blues saw them end a fantastic Friday evening sitting in fourth spot in the table.

WATERFORD FC: Sargeant; Power, Radkowski, Horton, Leahy; McDonald (72′ O’Keeffe), McMenamy (67′ McCormack); Asamoah (82′ Arubi), Pattisson, Parsons (67′ Macadam); Amond (82′ Evans). 

DUNDALK FC: Munro; Bradshaw, Davies, Muller (65′ Doyle), Johnson, Boyle; Benson (52′ Mountney), Horgan (87′ O’Kane), Oostenbrink; Gullan (87′ Durrant), Elliott (65′ Kenny).

Attendance:  2,178

*Photo Credit – Noel Browne*