Finn Harps earned another crucial win in their bid for Premier Division survival, this one against northwest Rivals Derry City. Australian Harry Ascroft netted in the second half to earn Finn Harps back-to-back 1-0 wins in the league as they push th
Finn Harps earned another crucial win in their bid for Premier Division survival, this one against northwest Rivals Derry City.
Australian Harry Ascroft netted in the second half to earn Finn Harps back-to-back 1-0 wins in the league as they push three points ahead of UCD who have a game in hand.
This Northwest Derby between Finn Harps and Derry City was the fourth of the season and it was special for one player in particular, Raffaele Cretaro, who captained Finn Harps for his 500th appearance in the League of Ireland.
The sun was shining on Finn Park during the opening quarter which saw very little in the way of chances, the visitors controlled possession and attempted a number of crosses from either side but the Harps defence cleared when called upon.
Derry City continued to enjoy much of the ball approaching the half hour but the hosts held their own and carved their first opening just shy of that 30th minute. A free kick from the left, whipped in by Cretaro, was met at the far post by Keith Cowan but he could only manage to hit the side netting.
David Parkhouse was looking to add to his goal tally but was having no joy in the first half, his closest effort, a looping header caught comfortably by Mark McGinley.
Jamie McDonagh wasn't far away from opening the scoring shortly after but he looked on as his half volley fizzed past the right hand post.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe wasn't far away from finding the net with a little under five minutes to go in the half, using his trickery on the left side, he cut in before finding space for the shot with McGinley saving at his near post.
McGinley had a brief scare moments later as he struggled to clear a Sam Todd backpass, Parkhouse was loitering in the area and looked to capitalise but the shot stopper cleared well under pressure as the sides went into the interval level.
Derry fashioned the first chance of the second half, Greg Sloggett playing a short through ball for McDonagh, who aimed for goal but saw a deflection take it wide.
The hosts stepped it up a gear after the hour mark and a substitution by Ollie Horgan proved the difference. Mark Timlin was replaced by Tony McNamee, a player who has a long throw in his repertoire, his first caused problems but Derry cleared.
HIs second however assisted the opening goal. Throwing long from the right side, high into the centre, Harry Ascroft rose well to head home his first goal for the club.
Mikey Place had an effort to double the lead shortly after but the angle was always against him as his shot rolled across the goalline.
Derry made a number of attacking substitutions in a bid to draw level or perhaps come from behind to win but the players were limited to long range drives.
In a last ditch attempt to get a draw, Derry threw bodies forward but the hosts stood firm for only their third home league win over Derry CIty.
The win continues Harps decent run which has seen them keep four clean sheets in their last five games, while it is Derry's first defeat in eight league games.
Harps go three points ahead of UCD while Derry stay fourth, five points behind Bohemians.