Harps beaten in Derry - again

Derry City piled further misery on Finn Harps with yet another north-west derby win, this time in the League Cup on Monday night at the Brandywell.

For Harps, it was an improved performance from the one that lead to another 2-0 defeat six nights' beforehand, but while James Gallagher's side enjoyed plenty of possession, poor finishing let them down.

It must also be noted that Stepen Kenny made no less than 10 changes from the side that had beaten Monaghan United at Gortakeegan, many of them making their competitive debuts.

With Emmet Friars the only player remaining from the side that kicked-off in Monaghan, Kenny will have been delighted with the enthusiasm and ability of so many of these youngsters who held a 2-0 lead at the interval.

For Harps it continues to be a troublesome period, the men from Ballybofey failed to wake up until the second half as the struggled in the vital areas, particularly in front of goal.

Indeed, their failure to convert a series of clear-cut scoring chances cost them dearly in a first half during which they flattered to deceive.

Kevin McHugh, Fintan Bonner, Matt Crossan and Michael Funston all failed to force the ball home in that period as a combination of Derry goalkeeper Eugene Ferry and good workings from his defensive colleagues kept the Finn Park outfit at bay.

But Derry were also wasteful when Vinny Sweeney flashed a shot over the crossbar after eight minutes while Mark Farren was unfortunate when his goalbound header was stopped by James Doherty before the ball had crossed the line.

The home side moved into the driving seat in the 33rd minute when Friars rose to meet Darren Coyle's cross from the left and the visitors were already in trouble.

Making matters even worse for Harps was the fact that Derry doubled their lead four minutes before the break following a flowing move. Sweeney sent Clarke scampering down the left flank and when he managed to squeeze the ball past his marker, James Doherty, Mark Farren celebrated his captaincy on the night by gleefully guiding the ball home.

With Harps making two changes at the break, Marc Brolly and Johnny Lafferty entering the fray at the expense of Fintan Bonner and Oisin McMenamin respectively, the Donegal men improved significantly.

But they continued to be wasteful when John Lafferty, with the goal at his mercy in the 54th minute, directed his shot at Eugene Ferry and another glorious opportunity was lost.

That said, it was the visitors who began to boss the ball with Derry regularly forced onto the back foot. Yet for all their probing, the home side defended manfully and with an assured goalkeeper in Ferry, Harps failed to seriously threaten until the 82nd minute when Friars did well to get a block in on Stephen McLaughlin's shot as the Inishowen man raced into a one-on-one situation.

Derry City: Ferry; Devlin, Friars, McEleney, Cassidy; Coyle (P McEleney, 63 mins.), McBride, Henry (Heraghty, 89), Clarke; Sweeney, Farren (McDaid 46).

Finn Harps: L Mailey; Doherty, P Mailey, Crossan, Whoriskey; McMenamin (Lafferty, 46), Funston, Forker, Bonner (Brolly 46); McHugh, McLaughlin.

Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).


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