It was a dream debut for Rhys Marshall as he scored and assisted in the two goals that gave Shamrock Rovers an easy victory over 10-man Waterford FC in last night’s SSE Airtricity Premier Division clash at the RSC.
Marshall was one of six changes Stephen Bradley made to the side that trounced Cork City on the previous Friday night and it was his teasing cross on three minutes that saw Blues defender Akin Odimayo slice the ball past his own keeper Brian Murphy.
After Michael O’Connor went close to levelling the tie only to see his shot deflected over on 12 minutes, disaster struck for Alan Reynolds’ side five minutes later. Andre Burley was sent off for a second yellow card after a late tackle on Dean Williams. Jack Byrne’s resulting free kick broke to Marshall on the top of the penalty area, and he beat Murphy with a sweet strike.
Rovers controlled the game with ease, and Dylan Watts could have increased the lead, with his crisp left-footed drive on 44 minutes whistling just inches wide.
Watts brought an excellent save out of Murphy on 56 minutes when he took a pass from Jack Byrne on the right-hand side of the area before Aaron Greene missed a sitter to add to the lead soon after, cracking a Marshall right-wing cross off the net post.
Murphy produced two stunning saves late on in the game, first when keeping out a header from Dean Williams on 81 minutes before somehow keeping out a close-range Watts effort as Shamrock Rovers made it three wins from three.
WATERFORD FC: Murphy, Bone, Burley, Odimayo, Wilson, Coote, Griffin, K. O’Connor (Allardice 81), McCourt, M. O’Connor (Longbottom 46), Smith (Fitzgerald 72).
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus, Marshall (Farrugia 72), Lafferty, Lopes, Grace, Bolger, Watts, Greene (Oluwa 77), Scales, Williams, Byrne (Kavanagh 64).
Referee: Ray Matthews (Kerry).