FINN HARPS OVERCAME Bray Wanderers on Friday night as Dave Scully’s goal gave Ollie Horgan’s men their third win of the season.
- Dave Scully – Finn Park’s new hero
HAVING netted one of the goals last month when Harps scored a first League win over Derry City since 1998, Dave Scully was already destined for a special place in Finn Park’s heart.
The big Dubliner headed Harps’ first in the 2-1 derby win and against Bray on Friday night he scored the only goal of the game.
But there has been so much more about his displays aside from his goals.
Scully is the typical Ollie Horgan player: Full of honest endeavour, without frills and pretty versatile to boot.
“There are a lot of new lads here and the fact that they want to be here is the main thing. They add to the place and they give everything they have,” Horgan said.
Outsiders coming to Ballybofey are accepted once supporters can see the player’s heart is in it – and there can be no questioning Scully’s commitment to Harps.
Against Bray, Scully again gave his all and, when replaced late on by Michael Funston, was given an ovation from the home support.
Picture caption: Sean Houston on the attack for Finn Harps against Bray Wanderers. Picture by Gary Foy, newsandsportfiles
- Fit again Sean Houston adds real quality
SEAN Houston’s career has been blighted by a spate of injury problems, but there has never been any doubts about the quality he possessed.
Houston has had spells at Harps, Bray Wanderers, UCD and Derry City, but has been frustrated by injury troubles.
The nightmare continued on the opening night of this season when Houston had to be withdrawn after just 19 minutes against Derry City after pulling up.
Houston’s recent return to the Harps side has given it a new dimension. Ollie Horgan knows Houston well having had him as a youngster at Fanad United and it’s clear to see why the Harps manager rates him so highly.
Houston’s powerful frame and athletic build has really added to Harps and his role in the goal demonstrated the worth of the Letterkenny man.
Houston’s big stride took him clear and he fed Ryan Curran, who played the pass across goal from which Scully tapped home.
Those runs from deep are a real feature of Houston’s game – keeping him fit would be some asset for Harps.
- Harps content to grind it out…
FOR those who watched Ollie Horgan’s Fanad United in their pomp, this was a throwback to some of their big outings.
Harps hit an early goal through Dave Scully and were content to grind out the three points from there.
Scully tapped home against the run of play after Bray created a couple of early openings.
It was a poor performance by Harps, whose manager Ollie Horgan said his side had been ‘played off the pitch’. If that was a little extreme, it was certainly true that his team had Lady Luck smiling on them on Friday night.
But Harps were content to grind out the win and this was a further demonstration that Horgan has assembled a squad that’s well capable of surviving the relegation battle.
- …but a killer touch would be welcome
AFTER Scully’s early opener, Harps had little in the way of chances.
Adam Hanlon’s magnificent effort, just a couple of minutes later, forced Peter Cherrie, the Bray goalkeeper, into a wonderful save, tipping over the crossbar when the top corner beckoned.
Tony McNamee headed wide in the second half, but chances were otherwise non-existent for Harps.
The longer the game went on, the more anxious the home support got and there was the growing sense that a sucker punch was coming.
Bray peppered the Harps penalty box with a series of crosses. The Seagulls had seven corners in the second half and the addition of five extra minutes at the end added to the drama.
Harps held out, but it won’t always be that way. A killer touch would do wonders for a side that is showing it won’t be pushed around in the top flight.
It doesn’t get much easier, with away games against Cork City and Wexford Youths to come on the next two Friday nights.
- Depleted Bray in need of a change in fortune
SINCE defeating Sligo Rovers 4-0 at the Carlisle Grounds last month, Bray Wanders have lost three on the spin and haven’t scored in those three fixtures.
Mick Cooke, the Bray manager, was at pains to note that his squad is ‘depleted’ at the moment and there has certainly been no lucky in that department of late.
On Friday night, defender Paul Finnegan was forced off after 35 minutes with a back injury. His replacement, Alan Byrne, lasted only until half-time and Jason Marks, who came on for Byrne, needed stitches to a head wound before leaving Ballybofey.
Mick Daly, Mark Salmon, Conor Earley and Dean Kelly are all on the absent list at the moment, but Cooke remains optimistic.
“They gave a good response and we were the dominant team,” he said.
“I asked for a response and got it – all that was missing was a goal.
“The performance warranted something, but we didn’t get it. I have a depleted squad at the moment. It’s bad enough losing one player, but we lost two. All credit to the players, they gave it their all.”Tags: