Finn Harps went top of the U-19 League Northern Section with a hard fought 1-0 win over local rivals Derry City at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar on Saturday.
Finn Harps 1
Derry City 0
A 91st minute goal from substitue Dean McConnell was enough to separate the teams in a hard fought yet thoroughly entertaining encounter in the Finn Valley Centre.
After bossing the initial 20 minutes of the game the visitors couldn’t find the breakthrough with Hugh McFadden in particular in fine form in a well organised defence for Harps. The hosts got a foothold in the game for the remainder of the half and found Houghtan in the Derry goal in fine form.
The second half began with Harps on top with chances falling to Jordan Duffy, Ryan Lonergan and Shane McGinty but none of the lads in blue could find the way past Houghtan.
Derry thought they had the lead after 67 minutes when a free from Ramelton native Tony McNamee made its way through a mass of bodies in the Harps penalty area only to be superbly cleared by Killybegs native McFadden. Minutes later, Derry were denied again, this time Kevin Barr finding himself in space but Shaun Patton in the Harps goal was equal to Barr’s effort.
The introduction of McConnell provided Harps with the spark needed as his pace caused Derry all sorts of problems down the right hand side. Eventually the winger got the winner following good work from Gary Merritt and Shane McGinty before McConnell latched onto the ball and hammered a right footed strike into the far corner of the net through a congested box. Harp, who have six games to play, are home to Sligo Rovers in their next fixture on February 11.
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton, Martin Redmond, Stephen Rodden, Hugh McFadden, Calvin Bradley, Ryan Curran, Ryan Shields, Ryan Lonergan (Dean McConnell 69), Jordan Duffy, Shane McGinty, Gary Merritt.
Airtricity U-19 League Northern Section
P W D L F A Pts
Finn Harps 12 9 1 2 21 6 28
Derry City 12 8 2 2 40 12 26
Dundalk 12 8 1 3 38 19 25
Monaghan 12 5 2 5 16 17 17
Fanad United 12 3 3 6 15 29 12
Sligo Rovers 12 2 3 7 23 41 9
Longford 12 0 2 10 6 35 2