David Parkhouse stole the show in extra-time as Derry City advanced to the EA Sports Cup final for a second successive season after beating a ten-man Waterford side in a crazy, chaotic tie laced with drama.
Derry City 4 Waterford 2
Report by Shaun Keenan at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.
Photos by North West Newspix and JPPhotography
Four goals from David Parkhouse proved too much and outshined Walter Figueira’s two sublime goals over 120 minutes.
City, who found their footing midway through the first half, went close again a few minutes later when Gerardo Bruna almost found Parkhouse in space, but his hoist cross went long for a goal kick.
However, Alan Reynold’s reshaped, youthful Waterford side was full of energy and Derry discovered that time on the ball was at a premium.
And what followed was a chaotic 10-minute spell that saw the visitors take the lead.
A sloppy Darren Cole header after 24 minutes was too short for Nathan Gartside, who retained his place in the starting eleven for the competition’s semi-final, and debutant Walter Figueira nodded beyond the helpless Derry goalkeeper to slot home from close range.
In fact, the ex-Chelsea academy player was causing all sorts of issues for Darren Cole, and with the defender out of position, Shane Duggan played a superb deft pass into the path of Figueira.
And the dynamic winger almost went through one-on-one again two minutes later, City captain Barry McNamee fouling Figueira on the edge of the area – Zachery Elbouzedi forcing Gartside to clear the danger with a frenetic on-target effort.
Declan Devine’s side did respond well before the break – Grant Gillespie missing two clear-cut chances from close range – and on the stroke of half-time Derry City were awarded a penalty kick.
Skillfully skipping beyond substitute Cory Galvin, McNamee was upended inside the penalty area by Galvin leaving Robert Rodgers with an easy decision and Parkhouse made no mistake from 12-yards.
After the break, Waterford, who made a valiant account of themselves on Foyleside following their 2-0 defeat against Devine’s outfit a week ago, were almost stung with another sucker-punch when Jamie McDonagh tried an audacious effort with a 30-yard free-kick, almost catching Connor flat-footed at his near post.
Waterford almost snatched the lead when JJ Luney’s deflected effort nearly got the better of Gartside, but it went for a fruitless corner-kick after the hour mark.
But the tie, once again, belonged to David Parkhouse, the Sheffield United loanee proving a handful once more – a sickening sight for the Reynold’s Waterford.
The 19-year-old, who has now scored five goals in his last two meetings with the Blues, busied himself from the off, demanding the ball from his team-mates and after 69 minutes he proved his worth once again.
Collecting the ball from long-range, the forward didn’t shy away from repeating his efforts of a week-ago, slamming another 25-yard effort into the bottom corner to rapturous praise from the Derry support.
However, any anxieties Devine may have harboured about his team switching off were realised with five minutes on the clock.
The reigning EA Sports Cup holders had fashioned a couple of promising moments just prior to the equaliser when Rory Feely’s cross found Figueira for his second of the tie to send the game for extra-time – a sea of blue the only noise on the Lone Moor Road.
In search of a hat-trick, Parkhouse and Figueira battled on, however, it was the Derry centre-forward who came up trumps.
Six minutes into extra-time, McDonagh’s fine cross found the charging Parkhouse who hurled a close-range effort beyond Connor in the Waterford goal to restore Derry’s lead.
And things went from bad to worse for Waterford as Robert Slevin was sanctioned his second yellow card and sent for an early shower.
In the second half of extra time, City were on the front foot again, piling the pressure on, and Jack Malone’s cross resulted in a Kevin Lynch own goal, following influence from Parkhouse, and an end to an epic semi-final.