And while there was very little between the teams at half time, a stunning second-half performance by the home side saw them deservedly take the spoils. In a competitive fixture, Derry gained revenge for their 2-1 defeat at the RSC earlier in the season.
Both sides created scoring chances in the opening period, but neither managed to find the net. Derry’s Rory Hale blasted high over the crossbar when the ball broke to him following a corner, but five minutes later, Waterford should have moved into the lead.
Gavan Holohan broke on the right and his superb pass fell perfectly for the unmarked Izzy Akinade but his tame shot was cleared off the line by Derry defender Gavin Peers.
Waterford keeper Lawrence Vigouroux did well to parry a low drive from Rory Hale in the 37th minute, turning the ball around his post.
Minutes before the break, Waterford went close again follow a slip by young Derry centre-back Eoin Toal, gifting the ball to Akinade, but his low drive was deflected wide at the expense of a corner.
Derry opened the second half brightly and they were rewarded for their adventurous start with both Rory Patterson and Ronan Curtis threatening, before the home side had their supporters on their feet in the 52nd minute.
Ronan Hale worked his way forward and his curling cross to the back post was met by left-back Jack Doyle, who headed firmly home.
Doyle, on loan from Birmingham, kept his cool to head Derry firmly into the lead.
Curtis was denied by a superb save by Vigouroux in the 54th minute as Derry continued to surge forward.
The home side managed to weather a late storm and Aaron McEneff missed a glorious chance to put the game to bed, with keeper Vigouroux smothering the effort on his six-yard line.
As the game entered injury time, Curtis broke free but lashed his shot over the crossbar when he really should have done better.
Doherty; McDermott (Cole, 53), Peers, Toal, Doyle; Ronan Hale, Low, Rory Hale, Curtis; McEneff; Patterson.
Vigouroux; Kavanagh, Feely, Webster, Barnett (Martin, 70); Keegan, Comerford (Daly, 70); Kasmi, Holohan, Puri (Walsh, 86); Akinade.