WATERFORD missed a penalty but still beat Sligo Rovers to record their first home win since May.
Teenage goalkeeper Luke McNicholas marked his league debut by denying Michael O’Connor from the spot at the RSC but goals either side of the break by Rory Feely and Walter Figueira moved the Blues to within two points of Sligo.
After Shane Duggan rifled his shot over the bar and JJ Lunney glanced his header wide, Waterford were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes when John Mahon fouled Figueira.
Up stepped O’Connor to take the spot-kick but he was unable to repeat his conversion success from last Friday’s win over St Patrick’s Athletic.
The one-way traffic eventually told when Waterford conjured the breakthrough on 34 minutes.
JJ Lunney’s cross was weighted perfectly for full-back Feely to roam in and power his header beyond the rookie goalkeeper.
O’Connor should have added a second with a close-range effort before the break but the Blues grabbed their second seven minutes into the second half.
The persistent Figueira didn’t give up after seeing his first effort blocked as he cut in from the right.
Latching on to the loose ball, his second attempt took a wicked deflection off Regan Donelon to loop over the head of McNicholas and drop inside the far post.
Only a goal-line clearance in stoppage time denied Duggan a third goal.
WATERFORD – M Connor; R Feely, R Slevin, M Kouogun, K Lynch (D Power 83); S Bone (C Galvin 74); G Poynton, S Duggan, JJ Lunney; M O’Connor (D O’Halloran 66), W Figueira.
SLIGO ROVERS – L McNicholas; D Kane, J Mahon, J Dunleavy, L Banks; S Warde, N Morahan, D Cawley, R Donelon (N Watson 85); K Twardek, B Morley (D Collins 75).
Ref – R Matthews (Westmeath).