Derry City 3 Finn Harps 0
A second brace from Rory Patterson which came in seven minutes ensured that City keep the pressure on Shamrock Rovers in the race for third spot and sent their near neighbours into significant relegations troubles at Maginn last night.
Kenny Shiels introduced Harry Monaghan to replace the suspended Nicky Low but was able to welcome back Conor McDermott into the full back slot. Elsewhere it was as you were for the Candystripes as they sought to avenge to two nil defeat that Harps had inflicted at the same venue back in April.
Ollie Horgan was deprived of Paddy McCourt and Ethan Boyle as he team desperately scrap for Premier Division survival. As one might expect with so much at stack, it was a feisty encounter, with referee Connolly needing to keep a lid of tempers all around the pitch.
City took control of the game in the early stages and make the breakthrough after 24 minutes. The experienced Damian McNulty took an age to decide on his clearance. The exuberance of Ronan Curtis saw him block down the clearance and ran down the right hand side and fired the ball towards Gallagher. The Harps netminder will be disappointed as the ball seemed to go under his body and into the bottom corner of the goal.
City, with the confidence of the early lead were totally dominant for the next ten minutes and despite the competitive tackling of Tommy McBride in particular, the home side should have added to their tally. McEneff curled one wide at the end of a flowing move involving Schubert and Patterson as the home side looked to build on their advantage.
As the first half came to a close though, it was the visitors who finished the stronger and despite rarely threatening the Derry goal, they spent the time camped in the City half. The same vein was to continue at the start of the second period as Harps tried to get back on level terms.
On 61 minutes City doubled their lead when McEneff found Curtis with a floated cross field ball. The young striker headed the ball forward but it looked as if Mailey should favourite to win the ball, but he was outmuscled by Curtis who bore down on goal. He shaped to shoot, but squared it to Patterson who made it 2-0 with an easy finish.
As heads began to drop from the men in yellow, City made sure of it with a third from Patterson. Ben Doherty crossed and Patterson headed home to ensure that the bragging rights were with the Candystripes. As the game drew to a close, Shiels used the game to introduce new faces with McBride and Tweed coming on for the home side.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty, Conor McDermott, Aaron McEneff, Barry McNamee, Harry Monaghan (Even Tweed 81’), Ronan Curtis, Rory Patterson (Sean McBride 86’), Darren Cole, Ben Doherty, Lukas Schubert (Nathan Boyle 71’), Aaron Barry.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Killian Cantwell, Packie Mailey, Gareth Harkin, Danny Morrissey, Caolan McAleer, Sean Houston (Abrahim Keita 65’), Tommy McBride (Johnny Bonnar 61’), Eddie Dsane (BJ Banda 54’).
Referee: Ben Connolly.