Eric McWoods of Finn Harps in action against Jamie Lennon of St Patrick's Athletic. Photo: Tyler Miller/Sportsfile
A pair of first-half goals contributed to Finn Harps’ downfall in Inchicore as St Patrick’s Athletic maintained their push for a European slot.
St Patrick’s Athletic 2
Finn Harps 1
Skipper Barry McNamee brought Harps back into it after Chris Forrester and Anto Breslin struck twice in the space of three minutes, but a dogged Harps weren’t able to force a leveller.
Goalkeeper James McKeown gave Harps a glimmer with a string of important saves but Harps were unable to carve much at the other end.
Four minutes from the end, defender Liam McGing was given a straight red card after going in late on Adam O’Reilly and Harps’ hopes faded by the Camac.
UCD’s 3-0 defeat to Derry City at the Brandywell means that Ollie Horgan’s Harps are still two points better off than the Students, who occupy the automatic relegation spot.
Pat’s were unchanged as Tim Clancy keept faith with the same team that began Monday’s 3-1 win at Bohemians - and they got off to a flier.
Pat’s broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when Forrester finished well after a surging move down the left-hand side involving Adam O’Reilly, Serge Atakayi and, finally, Eoin Doyle. It was Doyle’s cross that was swept in by Forrester.
Just three minutes later, with Harps still reeling, it was two.
McKeown was forced to get down to parry a dangerous cross from Barry Cotter, who scampered onto the byline. The lurking Breslin slammed high to the Harps net to double the lead.
Harps, though, got the goal they so badly needed on 24 minutes. Eric McWoods, who scored a brace against Sligo in Harps’ recent North West derby win over Sligo, centred for captain McNamee, who slide home with ease.
Forrester whizzed a 35th minute free kick just past the Harps goal frame and Atakayi’s low effort from 20 yards was held by McKeown as Pat’s began to turn the screw again.
An animated Horgan, serving a one-match touchline ban having been sent off in the madcap 3-2 win over Sligo Rovers a fortnight ago, watched from the Main Stand and could be encouraged by how his team made a real fist of it having been 2-0 in arrears.
Without the suspended Ryan Connolly and Ryan Rainey, Harps gave recalls to José Carillo, Dylan Duncan and McGing with Rob Slevin dropping to the bench.
Pat’s were on the front foot early in the second half with Jamie Lennon shooting wide after Forrester’s initial shot was blocked in the penalty area
McKeown saved strongly from Eoin Doyle 20 minutes from the end to keep Harps in with a chance of salvaging the night.
McKeown miraculously saved from Mark Doyle after stopping Forrester’s drive from distance with the clock showing eight minutes to play.
Harps sent Jordan international striker Jaime Siaj - whose signing was announced less than an hour before kick-off - but McKeown was called into action again in added time, thwarting former Harps striker Tunde Owolabi.
St Patrick’s Athletic: Danny Rogers; Barry Cotter, Joe Redmond, Harry Brockbank; Sam Curtis, Jamie Lennon, Adam O’Reilly, Chris Forester, Anto Breslin; Eoin Doyle (Tunde Owolabi 76), Serge Atakayi (Mark Doyle 67).
Finn Harps: James McKeown; José Carillo, Ethan Boyle, Liam McGing, Regan Donelon (Mark Timlin 77); Gary Boylan, Élie N’Zeyi; Dylan Duncan (Rob Jones 75), Filip Mihaljević (Jaime Siaj 89), Barry McNamee; Eric McWoods.
Referee: Ray Matthews.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.