Late goal heartbreak for Harps

St. Patrick’s Athletic 1-0 Finn Harps

Finn Harps suffered their fifth defeat on the trot as a late goal from sub Jake Walker gave St. Patrick’s Athletic victory at Richmond Park on Friday night. The result keeps Ollie Horgan’s side bottom of the table going into the mid-season break, on goal difference from UCD who will have two game in hand when the Premier Division resumes in a fortnight’s time. It was Walker’s first league goal and moved Harry Kenny’s side up to joint fourth with Derry City but the Candystripes have two more games less played.

It was Pat’s who started strongest as the visitors struggled defensively. An early Chris Forrester header went wide and then Harps had to be brave to block efforts from Mikey Drennan and Gary Shaw. Horgan’s men did carve out a chance on 17 minutes when Raff Cretaro won possession before his clever pass released Nathan Boyle but the Derry man was denied by the advancing Brendan Clarke who saved with his feet.

At the other end Drennan should have done better than heading straight at Mark Anthony McGinley following another excellent Simon Madden cross. Boyle had another chance for the visitors just before the interval, but could only steer the ball wide after Keith Cowan headed Gareth Harkin’s free-kick back back across the goalmouth.

After the restart the hosts saw a glancing Cian Coleman header drift just the wrong side of the upright while Kevin Toner’s strike was straight at McGinley. However, Harps did come back into the game. Mikey Place, somehow got himself free but in a one-on-one, the striker’s attempt was pushed away by Clarke who had narrowed the angle well. The rebound fell to Boyle whose effort was deflected out for a corner.

The hosts then lifted their game as McGinley was forced to tip over a Drennan shot which led to four corners in quick succession. The game’s only goal came on 83 minutes and it involved two Pat’s subs as it was Dean Clarke’s cross that saw Walker turn the ball home off a post. And then on the stroke of full-time it took a super McGinley save to prevent Drennan from doubling that advantage.

St Patrick’s Athletic - Brendan Clarke; Simon Madden, Lee Desmond, Ciaran Kelly, Kevin Toner;  Chris Forrester (Dean Clarke 77 mins), Rhys McCabe (Conor Clifford 23 mins), Cian Coleman, Ian Bermingham; Gary Shaw (Jake Walker 61 mins), Mikey Drennan.

Finn Harps - Mark McGinley; Colm Deasy, Daniel O’Reilly, Keith Cowan,  Sam Todd, Mark Russell; Raffaele Cretaro (Mark Timlin 71 mins), Gareth Harkin, Tony McNamee (Caolan McAleer 86 mins); Mikey Place; Nathan Boyle (Sean Boyd 82 mins). Not used: Niall Logue, Harry Ascroft, Liam Walsh. Ref: Neil Doyle (Dublin)

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