DERRY CITY finally ended an eight month wait for a Brandywell victory with a comprehensive win over Waterford in front of 480 home supporters - the biggest attendance of the season so far!
The last home win came back on October 23rd in a 2-0 win over Shelbourne and it arrived at the sixth time of asking under new boss Ruaidhri Higgins.
It was a memorable night for Derry teenager and Foyle Harps graduate Evan McLaughlin, who signed his first professional contract during the week, as he marked his senior debut with a first half strike to open the scoring.
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Joe Thomson doubled City's lead eight minutes into the second half with a fantastic goal into the top corner and celebrated by tucking the ball under his shirt to celebrate the imminent birth of his second child.
City skipper Eoin Toal was fortunate not to see red with five minutes to go as he dragged Waterford sub Cian Kavanagh back on the edge of the penalty area when clean through.
However, it was a thoroughly deserved victory for Derry who bounced back after defeat to Dundalk last week as they reclaimed sixth spot.
Higgins handed Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe a start on his return to the club while fellow new signing Jamie McGonigle started on the bench after completing his move from Crusaders this week.
The City boss made three changes in total from the team which lost narrowly to Dundalk last week with David Parkhouse, who had been linked with a move to Ballymena, among the substitutes. Jack Malone and Will Fitzgerald also dropped to the subs' bench with Ciaran Coll recalled to the starting line-up in an attacking 3-5-2 formation with Junior and James Akintunde leading the line.
Waterford boss Marc Birchim was also busy in the transfer market and he gave debuts to two of his five new signings with Max Hutchinson, son of West Ham legend Don, starting at centre midfield and Isaac Tshipamba on the right wing.
It was a first half of limited goalmouth action but after seven minutes Thomson's corner kick towards the back post was headed narrowly wide by Toal.
Derry were making progress down the left flank and the lively Danny Lafferty found McLaughlin 14 yards from goal but his first time shot was blocked by Cameron Evans on the half hour mark. The rebound fell to Thomson but his effort was charged down by Kyle Ferguson as the City bench appealed strongly for handball.
From a short corner Thomson found the run of McLaughlin and the youngster's right footed strike was saved at the near post by Brian Murphy on 38 minutes.
Four minutes later McLaughlin was played into the Blues penalty area with a ball over the top and as the Waterford defence dallied, the Derry youngster pounced and his deflected shot wrong-footed Murphy to give Derry a deserved lead.
Derry doubled their lead eight minutes into the second when Akintunde played Thomson through on goal and the Scotsman dragged the ball back onto his left foot before rifling his shot into the far corner of the net.
Striker McGonigle was introduced for his debut on 63 minutes and he had to wait 10 minutes for his first opportunity. Coll found his run on the left wing and the ex-Crusaders man's lobbed effort fell the wrong side of the far post.
Waterford substitute, Kavanagh was played in behind the Derry defence on 74 minutes but his snapshot was parried away by Gartside as the City keeper was called into action for the first time.
It was a reminder that Waterford were still in the game and moments later Jack Stafford's strike from 12 yards was pushed away at his near post by Gartside.
At the other end McGonigle tested Murphy with a low strike from distance but the Blues keeper managed to save with a strong, outstretched hand on 78 minutes.
There was a let-off for Derry with five minutes to go as Toal dragged Kavanagh back on the edge of the penalty area. The striker was clean through on goal but referee, Paul McLaughlin flashed a yellow card much to the dismay of the Waterford bench.
Substitute Jack Malone saw his strike saved comfortably by Murphy and McGonigle came close to a debut goal in stoppage time.
It mattered little as Derry finally secured their first home win of the season at the 10th attempt this season.
DERRY CITY: N. Gartside: E. Toal, C. McJannet, C. Coll; D. Lafferty, C. Harkin, J. Thomson (J. Malone 84), R. Boyce; E. McLaughlin (D. Cole 72); J. Akintunde (Fitzgerald 72) J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (J. McGonigle 63); Subs Not Used - J. Lemoignan, D. Parkhouse, P. Ferry, Caolon McLaughlin, B. Barr.
WATERFORD: B. Murphy: D. Power (J. Collins 81), K. Ferguson, C. Evans, J. Stafford; J. Martin, M. Hutchinson (C. Kavanagh 67), N. O'Keefe, I. Tshipamba (O. Sobowale h-t); S. Griffin; P. Mutswunguma; Subs Not Used - M. Connor, C. Stringer, L. Kervick, C. Browne.
Referee - Paul McLaughlin (Donegal).