City sneak through

Patrick McEleney Derry City skips the challenge from Finn Harps Ciaran Coll during the EA Sports Cup in Finn Park last night. Photo Thomas Gallagher 2105TG02
Patrick McEleney Derry City skips the challenge from Finn Harps Ciaran Coll during the EA Sports Cup in Finn Park last night. Photo Thomas Gallagher 2105TG02

DERRY CITY sneaked into the third round of the EA Sports League Cup when they defeated a spirited Finn Harps on penalties in Ballybofey last night.

Thomas Bonner skied the last penalty of the night after City debutant Raymond Foy had put his side 6-5 up in the shoot-out.

Harps’ striker, Paul McVeigh, had the chance to win it for the hosts moments beforehand only to hit the base of the post.

Gerard Doherty saved the first of the spotkicks from Gary Merritt. It was a tense affair. Rory Patterson, who was later sent off, had given the visitors the lead before Aaron O’Hagan levelled.

Patterson’s second yellow card of the evening, 15 minutes from time for catching Ciaran Coll high, gave Harps heart throughout the period of extra-time.

Sixteen minutes in, the Premier Division team took the lead thanks to an improvised effort from Patterson – his 13th goal of the season. Harps failed to clear with both O’Hagan and Ciaran Coll having bites before Simon Madden’s touch bounced to Patterson, who spectacularly hooked a volley over his own shoulder, which flew past Ciaran Gallagher. It was a real poacher’s goal.

With the first half about to end, Harps got themselves back on terms with a fine header from O’Hagan, who rose majestically in a crowded penalty area, to plant a looping effort across Gerard Doherty to the net following a free-kick from Johnny Bonner.

Derry really ought to have re-established their lead at the start of the second half when Shane McEleney work in behind the home defence following a Barry McNamee free-kick but a combination of keeper, Gallagher and the base of the post, kept the Derry centre-back out.

Fortunate Escape

Nearing the end of the first period of extra-time, Harps had a fortunate escape when Keith Cowan cleared off the line following a Madden cross with Gallagher and Thomas Bonner in a mix-up.