Waterford 2 Derry City 2
SHANE Duggan's 93rd minute penalty denied Derry City a fourth successive win on the road as Waterford twice fought back to earn a draw in a dramatic clash at the Regional Sports Centre.
Darren Cole's stunning 30 yard strike two minutes from time looked to have sealed a crucial win for the Candy Stripes but referee, Tomas Connolly awarded the Blues a late, late spotkick after Jamie McDonagh collided with Aaron Drinnan inside the area.
David Parkhouse had earlier put Derry into a deserved lead on 42 minutes but Waterford pegged the Foyelsiders back through substitute, Izzy Akinade's 62nd minute strike and then two goals in the final five minutes ensured an action-packed finale as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.
It was Derry's fourth game in 10 days and Declan Devine freshened up his team with four changes from the team which lost at home to league leaders, Shamrock Rovers on Friday night.
Back came Jamie McDonagh following his suspension while Josh Kerr, Gerardo Bruna and Ciaran Coll were all recalled to the starting line-up. Ally Gilchrist, Patrick McClean and Eoghan Stokes all dropped to the bench. Ciaron Harkin missed out altogether having started in every game of the season up until today.
Waterford came into the match off the back of a morale-boosting win over Cork City at the RSC.
It was a second game inside 72 hours for both teams and the Blues almost made changes with Georgie Poynton, Karolis Chvedukas and Scott Twine all handed starts.
And it was two of those players who combined for the first chance of the match on four minutes as Poynton found Twine with a superb cross but the striker headed just wide.
Derry began to settle and McDonagh's cross from the right fell to Barry McNamee and his shot from 16 yards was blocked by the Waterford defence before Bruna's long range strike sailed over the bar.
McDonagh was proving a real attacking threat from the right and his cutback found Parkhouse whose shot was cleared off the line by Poynton on 16 minutes.
McDonagh again delivered a pin-point cross from the right flank to once again find Parkhouse but the striker somehow steered his shot wide of the target from six yards with Matthew Connor beaten.
Barry McNamee conceded possession in the middle of the park as Waterford broke at pace but Aaron Drinan's 30 yard strike was saved comfortably by Peter Cherrie on 37 minutes.
Northern Ireland U21 winger, McDonagh then went on a searching run before smashing his shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Parkhouse made amends after that earlier sitter when McDonagh found the striker for a third time and he who made no mistake from close range three minutes before the break for his fifth of the campaign.
Waterford boss, Alan Reynolds made an attacking change at the interval with bustling striker, Izzy Akinade replacing Karolis Chvedukas as the home side changed to a 4-4-2 formation and they were on top for the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
And the striker didn't need long to make a difference as Bastien Hery played Akinade through on goal and he brushed aside the challenge of Josh Kerr before firing into the corner of the net past the out-rushing Cherrie to level the game on 63 minutes.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe got away from his man and his ball was almost turned into his own net by ex-Crystal Palace defender, Damien Delaney but it somehow went behind for a corner on 69 minutes.
Waterford were looking the most likely as they game entered the final 10 minutes but Derry fashioned a decent chance when substitutes, Evan Tweed and Eoghan Stokes combined with the latter blasted high and wide on the volley.
Cole tried his luck with a blistering strike from 30 yards which sailed straight into the top corner in the final minute of the match for his second goal of the season and what a crucial one it was.
It wasn't over yet as Drinnan was brought crashing down inside the penalty area by McDonagh and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Duggan three minutes into stoppage time and he tucked it away to secure a share of the spoils.
Waterford: M. Connor; R. Feely, D. Delaney, S. Duggan, K. Chvedukas (I. Akinade h-t), JJ. Lunney, G. Poynton, A. Drinan, Z. Elbouzedi, B. Hery (A. Simpson 63), S. Twine (C. Galvin 74); Subs Not Used - H. Keto, M. Kouogun, J. Martin, S. Griffin.
Derry City: P. Cherrie; D. Cole, J. Kerr (P. McClean 79), E. Toal, C. Coll; J. McDonagh, G. Bruna (E. Tweed 60), G. Sloggett, J. Ogedi-Uzokwe; B. McNamee, D. Parkhouse (E. Stokes 84) ; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. McDermott, S. McNamee, A. Gilchrist.
Referee - Tomas Connolly.
Attendance - 1,649