Two Conor Clifford penalties sealed the victory for Declan Devine’s men, who now sit just four points behind tonight’s opponents with only four games remaining in the 2020 season.
Third placed Waterford disappointed throughout and never really got going and but for some good saves by goalkeeper Brian Murphy, they could have conceded a few more goals.
The visitors had the first real chance on 15 minutes but Robert McCourt’s close range header flew well off target, after Tyreke Wilson’s right wing corner had picked out the centre-back.
Waterford keeper Murphy was called into action on 38 minutes when fully stretched, he did well to push away Clifford’s 25 yard free-kick.
Clifford did get the better off Murphy on 44 minutes, this time from the penalty spot, after referee Robert Hennessy felt that Olunatunmise Sobowale’s nudge on Walter Figueira inside the box was enough to award the spot-kick and the midfielder made no mistake, sending the ex-QPR net-minder the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
Early in the second half, Derry went close to adding a second twice in quick succession.
Firstly Ibrahim Meite close range side-footed strike was straight at Murphy, before the keeper saved Eoin Toal’s follow-up effort.
The Brandywell men were awarded a second penalty on 58 minutes as McCourt’s poor challenge on Figueira meant that referee Hennessy correctly pointed to the spot again and Clifford coolly made no mistake from 12 yards, chipping the ball panenka style down the centre of the goal.
A clever corner routine on 80 minutes by the home side saw Ciaron Harkin play a neat one-two with Figueira but the midfielder’s well hit drive flashed over.
Derry City: Peter Cherrie, Colm Horgan, Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Ciaran Coll; Conor McCormack (Jack Malone 85), Ciaron Harkin, Conor Clifford; Walter Figueira, Ibrahim Meite (James Akintunde 70), Stephen Mallon.
Waterford: Brian Murphy, Olunatunmise Sobowale, Jake Davidson, Robert McCourt, Tyreke WIlson (Darragh Power 52); Alistair Coote, Robert Weir, Niall O’Keeffe (Dean Walsh 84), William Fitzgerald; John Martin; Mathew Smith.
Referee: Robert Hennessy (Dublin).