WILL Patching’s double saw Derry City leapfrog Finn Harps as Ollie Horgan’s men fell to a fifth home defeat of the season.
Finn Harps 1 Derry City 2
By Chris McNulty at Finn Park. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West Newspix
For the first time since last summer’s Covid-19 shutdown on attendance at sporting venues, Harps fans returned to Finn Park with 100 permitted in to add a volume that had been badly missing from the old venue in recent times.
The Harps support left empty handed, though, as Patching’s brace – one from a penalty and the other a delightful free kick – saw Derry continue their own fine form away from home. Under Ruaidhri Higgins, the Candystripes have taken 16 points from a possible 18 in their last six away games.
Derry led after eight minutes, hitting the front via a penalty. Patching found the bottom corner at the Town End after Ethan Boyle was penalised when he leaned into David Parkhouse. The decision drew the ire of the Harps bench; ‘that’s cat’, the verdict of Horgan
Harps were level eight minutes later, Ethan Boyle heading home after Shane McEleney and Kosovar Sadiki got flicks on a Barry McNamee corner.
McNamee was captaining Harps against his former employers with Dave Webster an absentee through injury – meaning a return to the team for Johnny Dunleavy.
Harps began well with Tunde Owolabi firing off target after Mark Coyle played him in around the back in the opening minute.
Just after Boyle’s equaliser, Owolabi fashioned an opening for himself, but the striker’s shot dipped beyond the crossbar. At the other end, Parkhouse ought to have netted for Derry, but was unable to hit the target from 12 yards.
Adam Foley, Harps’ hero of the hour with the later winner earlier in the season at the Brandywell, burst away on the half-hour, but fired wide with a low effort.
The lively Owolabi was denied by Gartside but, with half-time looming, Patching restored the lead, curling home from a delicious free kick after he’d been fouled by Coyle.
Marc Walsh’s late goal rescued a point against Bohemians last Friday and Derry boss Ruaidhri Higgins made two switches with Jack Malone and Will Fitzgerald restored.
Harps had a big chance to equalise just four minutes into the second half, but Foley saw his shot deflect wide off Eoin Toal, the Derry captain.
Patching saw another free kick beaten away by McGinley while Shane McEleney’s first-time attempt flew wide of the far post.
Harps went in a valiant search of another equaliser and Boyle got his head on a couple of deliveries, but to no avail.
Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Shane McEleney, Kosovar Sadiki, Johnny Dunleavy (Tony McNamee 82); Mark Coyle (Conor Barry 58), Will Seymore; Karl O’Sullivan (Sean Boyd 78), Barry McNamee, Adam Foley (Ryan Rainey 82); Tunde Owolabi.
Derry City: Nathan Gartside; Ronan Boyce, Eoin Toal, Cameron McJannet, Danny Lafferty; Jack Malone (Darren Cole 74), Ciaron Harkin, Will Patching; Will Fitzgerald, David Parkhouse (Ciaran Coll 84), James Akintunde.
Referee: Neil DoyleTags: