LAST FRIDAY night stung Finn Harps hard and the feelings ran deep in the dressing room after the 1-0 defeat by Longford Town.
Kevin O’Connor’s first-half goal fired Longford to their first win since the season’s opening night, when they beat Wexford Youths.
It condemned Harps to a seventh-straight League defeat and, although that was followed by another 1-0 loss on Monday, to title-chasing Cork City, the performance there was vastly improved.
Certainly, the feelings at the end were more of encouragement than they had been three evenings previously.[adrotate group=”80″]
It was rare to see Finn Park as raw as it was in the aftermath of that loss to Longford.
“We got a bit of stick as players and the manager and the assistant manager got a bit of stick last Friday night after the game,” says Barry Molloy, who returned to the team to face Cork.
“We weren’t happy about that. We can’t complain. We know that it comes from the bad run. We have to take responsibility. It hasn’t been good enough.[adrotate group=”38″]
“The supporters have been brilliant for us all year. Even the nights we lost 7-0 to Dundalk and 5-0 to Derry, they got behind us and backed us.
“Again against Cork, I think they appreciated the fact that we worked the socks off. We have a lot of games ahead of us and a big battle in the next few weeks, it’ll take all of us sticking together to get out of this.
“The boys are giving their all. We just aren’t getting the rub of the green and we just aren’t clinical.[adrotate group=”50″]
“We had a chance in the first minute on Friday that if we’d taken it we’d have won the game two or three-nil, I think. We need to be better in front of goal.”
Harps trained in Letterkenny again on Sunday and there was a renewed bite about the side; something that carried into Monday’s fixture with Cork City.
Only a disputed penalty, netted by the in-form Sean Maguire, stood between the sides as Harps agonisingly lost 1-0.
“It’s never nice to lose a game with a penalty. It looked soft, too. It was a bit harsh on us. We matched them. Without creating too many chances, we played quite well. We had a couple of opportunities in the second half that we didn’t capitalise on, but they were encouraging signs.[adrotate group=”76″]
“We have to take that into Friday and try to break this bad run. We just need a point from somewhere.
“They never cut us open. They had a lot of possession, but we kept our shape well. The plan was working, but it’s just that wee bit of luck that we aren’t getting at the minute. They got the wee bit of luck but they’re on their way to challenging for the title.”
Harps haven’t scored since Sean Houston netted in the 1-0 win over Galway United back in July.
It’s become a weight on the shoulders, but Molloy is confident that Harps can turn the tide.
The Derry native says: “The thing with a goal, it’s gone on so long now people are talking about it and it’s disappointing, obviously. That’s more disappointing that no wins. If we play like we did on Monday, it’ll come. I know it will.”[adrotate group=”46″]
As they enter a crucial period in the battle to avoid the drop to the First Division, Harps have a four-point advantage to Wexford Youths, the current occupiers of the play-off spot.
Molloy says: “We know that we can’t compete technically with the top teams in the League.
“We need to do what we’re good at and that’s what we were doing at the start of the season – not conceding set plays and making life hard for our opponents. We did that against Cork and we just need to bring all of that into Friday night.”[adrotate group=”37″] Tags: