Finn Harps’ poor run of form in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division shows no sign of abating following Friday night’s latest defeat, this time at the hands of North West neighbours Derry City at Finn Park.
Finn Harps . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Derry City . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
All of a sudden, Harps fans are looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack with Bray Wanderers and now Wexford Youths in close pursuit.
It’s not that long ago that Ollie Horgan’s side looked to have got themselves into a position of some comfort in the table. But four defeats on the bounce, coupled with an upturn in fortunes for Bray and Wexford Youths means their league position has taken on all too different complexion.
Harps remain ninth in the table but Bray are just three points behind them with a game in hand. Almost more worryingly, second from bottom Wexford have closed the gap to just five, although they’ve played a game more. Wexford’s win over Longford on Friday night just rubbed salt into the wounds of the Harps fans who had watched their team outclassed by their old rivals.
Horgan suggested after the game that his team’s performance in the last 20 minutes was nothing short of a shambles.
“We needed everything to go our way and the first goal, as it did last Friday night in Dalymount, killed us,” Horgan said.
“But that’s no excuse for the way we played in the last 20 minutes. It was a shambles and it’s the first time that players didn’t seem to have the heart and want to run.
“Derry runners were overlapping and we weren’t fit to run with them.
“Physically, we should be in decent shape. I think basically some people may have thrown the towel in during the last 20 minutes. That’s possibly the biggest disappointment from my point of view.
“Obviously the confidence is low, without a shadow of a doubt. Very similar to last week (against Bohemians), we were nil all and had chances to go ahead. I thought we created a few chances there tonight, even at 1-0 down.”
Those chances came the way of Ryan Curran, Sean Houston and Packie Mailey with Curran having the best opportunity, just three minutes before Derry went in front. Curran, who had scored in both of the previous meetings with Derry this season, worked himself an opening just inside the Derry box but his tame shot was comfortably dealt with by Gerard Doherty.
Soon after, Derry were in front with Ciaran Coll penalised for a handball as he challenged Lukas Shubert, although the feeling was that the indiscretion happened just outside the box.
Aaron McEneff scored from the spot and the same player doubled his team’s advantage just before half time, again from a penalty. Once again Shubert was involved, going down under a challenge from Barry Molloy and McEneff showed fantastic confidence, firing his spot kick into the same bottom corner as his first.
Eight minutes into the second half, Derry went three up, Nathan Boyle finishing well after a quick break-away.
Harps threw on Dave Scully and Adam Hanlon and after the hour, Raymond Foy. But Derry were in cruise control and goals late on from Schubert (84) and substitute Keith Ward (87), rounded off a fine victory for them.
For Horgan, the most frustrating aspect of the game was his team’s capitulation after falling 3-0 behind.
“The third goal killed us,” he said.
“But they (Derry) kept the ball for fun and they showed the quality that they have. They are up there for a reason but that doesn’t take away how disappointed that we are with our 20 minutes at the end.”
Finn Harps: Richard Brush, Josh Mailey (Raymond Foy 62), Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Thomas McMonagle (Dave Scully 57), Sean Houston, Barry Molloy, Ryan Curran, Ethan Boyle, Tony McNamee (Adam Hanlon 57).
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Dean Jarvis, Niclas Vemmelund, Ryan McBride, Conor McCormack (Harry Monaghan 82), Barry McNamee (Keith Ward 76), Aaron McEneff, Nathan Boyle (Joshua Daniels 60), Rory Patterson, Lukas Schubert.
Referee: P McLaughlin.