Finn Harps 1-0 Derry City
A 65th minute Harry Ascroft goal secured Finn Harps a precious three points against Derry City in a Northwest derby on Friday night. The result also moves Ollie Horgan’s men three points above UCD in the bottom of the table battle to avoid relegation. It also meant back-to-back victories in the Premier Division for only the second time this season.
Match Report and photos by Declan Kerr Finn Harps Media Officer
Harps have bounced back well from the defeat to UCD three weeks and that’s down to the trojan work of Ollie Horgan, Paul Hegarty and the entire squad who got on with the job and shut out some of the over the top negativity in the aftermath of the Belfield defeat. But, Horgan says enjoying a rare win over Derry has to be taken in the context of Harps now pushing forward.
“We were beaten by UCD and some people thought it was the end of the road. That was never the case. We didn’t get too down about it. Yes, it was a bad defeat but we moved on and thankfully we got a win in Waterford. We’re very happy to have got the three points here against Derry. Maybe, a draw would have been a truer reflection of the game but we got that little bit of luck that maybe didn’t come our way earlier in the season. It’s a lift for us all and the whole squad deserve that. But, we have to start looking at Bohemians from tomorrow. It’s a home game against a side that is third in the table. There is only nine games left and just four home matches” Horgan said.
In a low key first half on Friday, Derry had more of the possession and created a couple of openings with Mark Anthony McGinley in the heat of the action in the closing stages of the first half. First the Harps keeper made a fine stop with his feet to deny Junior at the expense of a corner. But, then McGinley almost got into big bother after mis-kicking a Sam Todd back-pass that was capitalised upon by David Parkhouse but under pressure from the keeper, his effort went wide.
Early in the game Sam Todd almost got on the end of a Daniel O’Reilly flick on but Derry keeper Peter Cherrie got there first. The hosts did come close on 26 minutes when Keith Cowan headed a Raffaele Cretaro free-kick into the side netting. The Candystripes had the better of the closing stages of the first half with Daniel O’Reilly having to clear a dangerous Jamie McDonagh cross away. That came back to McDonagh who lifted the ball in again for Junior who should have done better from a header that went wide.
Nine minutes after the break, McGinley produced a super save to turn a McDonagh shot around the post for a corner. The game’s only goal came in the 65th minute, when Tony McNamee who had just on, launched one of his extraordinary long throws that was met by a header from Harry Ascroft which flew past a stranded Cherrie at the River End of the ground. At the other end Gary Sloggett should have done better with a header.
On 73 minutes Mickey Place had a chance to make it easier for Harps when he did well in a long the end line but his effort from an acute angle went across the face of the goal. Derry subs Michael McCrudden and Conor Davis both had shots that failed to trouble McGinley as the home fans nerves were stretched to the limit in the closing stages of the North West derby. But, Ollie Horgan’s men held on a hugely significant victory.
Finn Harps - Mark Anthony McGinley; Daniel O’Reilly, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg, Mark Russell; Mark Timlin (Tony McNamee 63 mins), Gareth Harkin, Harry Ascroft; Raffaele Cretaro (Shaun Doherty 83 mins); Mikey Place (Liam Walsh 91 mins). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Stephen Doherty, Colm Deasy, Joshua Smith.
Derry City - Peter Cherrie; Darren Cole, Eoin Toal (Michael McCrudden 77), Ally Gilchrist, Ciaran Coll; Greg Sloggett, Ciaron Harkin (Conor Davis 81), Gerardo Bruna; Jamie McDonagh, David Parkhouse, Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Eoghan Stokes 77).
Ref: Neil Doyle.