Action from game in Maginn Park as Ciaran Coll and Rory Patterson contest a cross. Photo Stephen Doherty
Finn Harps' chances of remaining in the Premier Division are hanging by a thread after a defeat against Derry City in Maginn Park, Buncrana tonight.
Derry City 3
Finn Harps 0
Finn Harps battled to the end, but the game was over when Rory Patterson fired home a second goal ten minutes into the second half.
To be in with a realistic chance of retaining their top flight status, Harps needed to win this game. The win was important to Derry City in relation to European football next season.
In the absence of Mark Timlin and the injured Ethan Boyle and Paddy McCourt, the Harps team showed several changes from last weekend. Packie Mailey made a welcome return from injury and played alongside Killian Cantwell in the centre of defence.
Danny Morrissey, injured in the warm-up ahead of the Dundalk game, also came in from the start as Harps went in search of the win they needed to maintain their hopes of survival.
Derry, in need of the points for very different reasons, were able to name Conor McDermott at right back, despite him missing out for Northern Ireland U-21s in midweek due to injury.
McDermott had one of the game's opening chances as Derry started brightest. Rory Patterson also went close, his goalbound effort deflected wide for a corner.
Harps worked hard in the early stages and had some good passages of possession but Derry were the better side and the visitors struggled to cope with the pace of Ben Doherty and Ronan Curtis on the left side.
When the breakthrough came on 24 minutes, it arrived courtesy of an attack down that flank. Damien McNulty was caught out when dispossessed by Curtis who was able to race into the area before flashing his shot in low past Ciaran Gallagher.
It was a fine finish from the Republic of Ireland U-21 international, his ninth of the campaign.
But City weren't really able to build on that goal and if anything, it was Harps who finished the half the stronger.
Without ever really testing Gerard Doherty in the home goal, Ollie Horgan's team did manage to string some possession together and Danny Morrissey was unlucky to see an effort blocked out for a corner.
It got worse for Harps on 55 minutes when Ronan Curtis was the provider this time, setting it up for Rory Patterson to slide home from close range.
It was lights out Finn Harps six minutes later when a cross from Ben Doherty was headed home by Patterson.
After that the game was over as a contest, although Curtis had a chance cleared off the line in the final minute.
DERRY CITY: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Ben Doherty, Aaron Barry, Darren Cole, Aaron McEneff, Luka Schubert (Nathan Boyle 70), Harry Monaghan (Evan Tweed 80), Rory Patterson (Sean McBride 86), Barry McNamee, Ronan Curtis.
FINN HARPS: Ciaran Gallagher, Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Packie Mailey, Killian Cantwell, Tommy McBride (Jonny Bonner 60), Caolan McAleer, Sean Houston (Ibrahim Keita 65), Eddie Dsane (BJ Banda 54), Danny Morrissey, Gareth Harkin.
REFEREE: Ben Connolly.