Lomboto’s late equaliser edges Utd closer to title

Waterford FC 2

Galway United 2

If you listened carefully late last Friday night, cupping your ear as you leaned in a little closer, you would have heard the unmistakable sound of a thousand and more Waterford hearts break in unison as Francely Lomboto walloped home an injury-time equaliser for the visitors at the RSC.

The point maintains United’s 16-point lead at the top of the table over the Blues, and brings to an end any kind of pretence of there being an actual title race left, with United now having one hand on the First Division trophy, and the other outstretched towards it.

It was not a point that you could with any kind of seriousness argue that United deserved as, bar the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, they were a clear second-best on the night, but you win the league for being the best over the course of the season, not of a single game, and the visitors’ stubborn refusal to accept what looked like certain defeat as the game entered five minutes of injury-time spoke volumes for the character in the squad.

The goal was celebrated as if it had clinched the title, and while mathematically that is not the case, everyone in the crowd of 1,953 – including about 150 United fans – knew that, as Lomboto wheeled away in joy, the destination of this year’s title has being decided.

The instinctive reaction of players and manager certainly suggested as much – Conor McCormack led a lightning charge past the Waterford bench to embrace Lomboto, followed by the rest of the squad; while on the final whistle, John Caulfield wheeled away towards the home stand, clenching his fists close to his chest in celebration.

Pictured: Francely Lomboto, seen here in action against Waterford’s Tunmise Sobowale in Eamonn Deacy Park back in May, scored an injury-time equaliser against the same opposition on Friday night. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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