Barry Molloy who was on the mark for Finn Harps on Friday night
An injury time strike from substitute Vinny Faherty gave Galway United all three points in an action-packed encounter at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
Galway United . . . 2
Finn Harps . . . 1
Given that Harps created plenty of good chances over the 90 minutes, this was a game the Donegal side should not have lost.
They looked on their way to taking a deserved share of the spoils until Faherty popped up with a 92nd minute winner.
It was really tough on Harps who played well on the night. They had taken the lead through Barry Molloy midway through the first half and had opportunities to add to that goal.
But they were pegged back when Ronan Murray scored a 74th minute penalty for Galway before Faherty scored the late, late winner.
After losing four times on the bounce, this was a game Harps could ill-afford to lose.
Ollie Horgan went with an unchanged team from the side that lost to Bray, but he had the luxury of welcoming Packie Mailey and Jonny Bonner back into the squad.
Harps started well and had a couple of half chances early on. Caolan McAleer worked himself into a good position in front of goal only to be blocked out while Sean Houston’s cross almost set-up Ciaran O’Connor.
Galway, fresh from taking the first points of the season off leaders Cork City, never really tested Ciaran Gallagher in the opening period. At the other end, Harps went close again on 20 minutes. This time Paddy McCourt’s free-kick picked out the unmarked Killian Cantwell whose header came crashing back off the bar.
Five minutes later, the home side had strong appeals for a penalty waved away by match referee Ray Matthews amid claims that Damien McNulty had handled Marc Ludden’s header.
It was a big moment in the game because within two minutes, Harps took the lead. Gareth Harkin was involved in the build-up and his cross was helped goal-wards by Barry Molloy whose effort came back off the post and then crossed over the line off the unfortunate Galway keeper, Conor Winn.
It was no more than Harps’ impressive first half performance deserved and even though they lost McCourt to injury on 34, they continued to frustrate their opponents who didn’t manage a single effort on target in the first half.
Former Harps keeper Winn was called into action right at the start of the second half to save well from a Gareth Harkin effort.
And as the visitors’ good start to the new half continued, they wasted a great opportunity to make it 2-0 when Winn came out to save from O’Connor and the keeper saved again to deny Danny Morrissey from the follow-up.
Murray almost drew Galway level just before the hour when he met Colm Horgan’s cross only to see his shot go wide of the post.
Galway had more appeals for a penalty waved away following yet more hand ball claims. However, at the third time of asking, they were eventually given a spot kick on 74 minutes when David Cawley went down in the box and Ronan Murray scored past Gallagher.
On a night when referee Mr. Matthews booked a number of players, Ollie Horgan was sent from the dug-out for the second time in the space of three weeks after an exchange of views in the closing minutes with assistant referee, Dermot Broughton.
The Harps boss could only look on as Galway stole the points when Faherty met a Marc Ludden cross and his looping header went in over Gallagher to the delight of the home supporters.
Galway United: Conor Winn, Marc Ludden, Colm Horgan, Lee Grace, Stephen Folan (Paul Sinnott 94), Gary Shanahan (Conor Melody 60), Gavin Holohan, Kevin Devaney, David Cawley, Ronan Murray, Padraic Cunningham (Vinny Faherty 60).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Damien McNulty, Killian Cantwell, Barry Molloy (Jonny Bonner 64), Caolan McAleer (Michael Funston 86), Paddy McCourt (Danny Morrissey 34), Ciaran O’Connor, Sean Houston, Gareth Harkin.
Referee: Ray Matthews.