Finn Harps 1
Derry City 2
Alan Foley reports from Finn Park
A FRENETIC NORTH-west derby was played at breakneck speed with a touch of composure amid the chaos from Will Patching sealing a fine away win for Derry City.
Chances flowed at either end throughout the contest, with Ruaidhrí Higgins’ Derry going ahead with a debatable penalty from on eight minutes prior to Ethan Boyle’s equaliser on 16.
However, Patching – who played in the U17 World Cup for England in 2015 – curled a fantastic free-kick past Mark Anthony McGinley a minute before the break.
Since Higgins came in, Derry now have 16 points from 18 on the road, whilst neither he nor Declan Devine have yet to taste victory at home – it’s a funny old game indeed!
Ollie Horgan’s hosts probably shaded the first quarter, although that didn’t mean they scored the first goal. From a looped cross, Boyle was penalised by referee Neil Doyle for a needless push into David Parkhouse’s back. Patching planted the penalty into Mark Anthony McGinley’s bottom left corner.
Eight minutes later, Harps were back on terms when a deep Barry McNamee corner ended up in Nathan Gartside’s net following three headers – Shane McEleney to flick on, Kosovar Sadiki to knock it back and Boyle to send it home.
Although it didn’t look like it at the time, Patching’s second goal was to prove the winner.
With Derry playing a high line, Babatunde Owolabi was still providing an outlet and when Adam Foley found himself in space only to see his shot trickle agonisingly wide having deflected off Eoin Toal.
Derry had chances too, like when Patching from a free down the left, called McGinley into action again. Cameron McJannet’s header into the ground was so firm it went over the crossbar.
The best chance of a second Harps equaliser came from another McNamee corner, Shane McEleney miscued and managed to only steer the ball back across goal some 20 minutes from time. Boyle, twice, was also off target as Derry struggled to deal with the deliveries from their former captain.
However, Derry have learned how to win on the road and that got them over the line for the short trip home.