Jacob Berg in action for Harps as the Daniel Grant, who scored the winning goal, closes in PICTURE: Stephen Doherty
Daniel Grant struck the winning goal eight minutes before half-time as Harps slumped to another home defeat at Finn Park on Friday night.
Finn Harps . . . 0
Bohemians . . . 1
It means it’s an eighth league defeat on the bounce for the Ballybofey men who remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.
Not for the first time this season, Harps were in the game right to the finish. But for all their hard work and effort, particularly in the second half, they couldn’t force an equaliser.
With UCD losing 2-0 at home to Derry, Harps remain five points adrift of the Students. But worryingly for Harps, they remain without a win in the league after 11 games.
This game came a week after Harps lost 3-2 to Derry City in a controversial north west derby that was still the subject of much debate and opinion among fans this week.
Ollie Horgan had to make changes again with Conor Deasy automatically suspended following his red card and Niall Logue ruled out after suffering injury in training on Thursday night.
Tony McNamee also dropped to the bench as Horgan brought Mark Coyle and Mark Russell back into the side while teenager Stephen Doherty came in for his first league start.
Bohs made just one change from the team that won 2-0 at Sligo Rovers last Saturday night with the experienced Aaron Barry replacing the suspended Robert Cornwall.
The visitors started well and had Harps pinned back in the opening minutes. Harps took a while to get going but once they did kick into gear, they played some decent football.
The first effort on goal came on 15 minutes when Nathan Boyle showed great close control on the edge of the area before his turn and volley prompted a smart save from James Talbot. The roving Caolan McAleer was seeing plenty of the ball and his penetrating runs were proving a vital outlet for Harps.
But Bohs, one of the form teams in the division, began to show their quality with Keith Ward involved in some much of their positive play.
It was from the midfielder’s free kick on 35 that the Dubliners almost stole the lead. Harps could only clear the set-piece to the edge of their box where Kevin Devaney directed a brilliant volley goalwards, only to be denied by Ciaran Gallagher’s finger-tip save.
Within a minute however, Bohs did take the lead. Ward delivered a delightful cross from the left and while Corcoran could have done better with his effort, the ball ran kindly for Daniel Grant who shot into the ground and up into the net.
They should have been two up a short time later but Grant saw his close range effort saved by Gallagher after Corcoran’s shot came back off the inside of the post.
Harps needed to up their game for the second half and the introduction at the break of Tony McNamee in placed of Doherty in midfield gave them a visible lift.
The Ramelton man looked sharp as Horgan’s men sought a way back into the game. His long throws are an added asset and from one delivery Harps almost took advantage, only for Bohs to scramble clear.
With the game still at 1-0 at the midway point of the second half, Mikey Place was brought on in place of Daniel O’Reilly as Harps threw on an attacker for a defender.
The change in formation coincided with another decent period for Harps but despite getting into some very good positions, frustratingly, they rarely worked keeper Talbot.
At the other end, Grant showed a great turn of pace to get into a shooting position in the box but his close range shot was diverted over by Gallagher.
The Harps No. 1 made another brilliant stop minutes later, saving from Corcoran.
Harps always held out hope of snatching an equaliser, and they came close when from another McNamee throw-in, Sam Todd’s flick on looked to be heading for the net only for the ball to be deflected wide for a corner.
And right at the death, Nathan Boyle saw a header saved by keeper Talbot as Bohs saw the game out to claim another good win which means they stay second in the table behind leaders Shamrock Rovers.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, John Kavanagh, Daniel O’Reilly (Mikey Place 67), Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Jacob Berg, Caolan McAleer, Mark Coyle, Nathan Boyle, Stephen Doherty (Tony McNamee 46), Mark Russell.
Bohemians: James Talbot, Derek Pender, Aaron Barry, James Finnerty, Darragh Leahy, Conor Livingstone, Daniel Grant (Ali Reghba 78), Keith Buckley, Kevin Devaney, Keith Ward (Daniel Mandroiu 70), Dinny Corcoran (Ryan Swan 90).
Referee: Damien McGrath.