Finn Harps 1-2 Derry City
DERRY CITY came from behind to see off North West neighbours Finn Harps and ease into the EA Sports Cup third round.
Substitute Rory Patterson, with his first shot on target sealed the victory, after Aaron McEneff’s penalty had cancelled out Ciaran Coll’s opener.
True to his word Derry City boss Kenny Shiels fielded a strong team for the tie and only made two changes to the side which defeated St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday.
Midfielder Nicky Low returned from suspension and David Hopkirk was given his first start, with both Ben Doherty and Patterson dropping to the bench.
Harps raced into a 11th minute lead as Mark Timlin’s right wing centre found Coll, who took a touch inside the box before calmly firing the ball high in off Gerard Doherty’s right hand post.
Having not done anything for the opening quarter the visitors got themselves back on level terms on 29 minutes from the penalty spot.
McEneff raced clear down the right to latch onto Conor McDermott's’ pass, before he had his ankle’s clipped inside the box by Harps midfielder Mark Hannon and referee John McLaughlin pointed to the spot.
The City midfielder dusted himself down and fired home the resulting spot-kick.
That goal was the ex-Spurs starlet’s fourth goal in as many games and he became the first City man to score in four consecutive games since Patterson did the same feat in 2014.
Harps made a change at the break with experienced striker John O’Flynn replacing front man Michael O’Connor.
City had a golden chance to take the lead on 58 minutes as Curtis’ pass found McEneff, who skipped away from a few challenges down the right hand side of the penalty box, but his low drive from a tight angle was well saved by Harps keeper Peter Burke.
Both sides made changes with Lee Toland replacing Mark Timlin, while Patterson came off the bench to replace Hopkirk and it did not take the Strabane man long to make an impact as he scored what turned out to be the winner on 63 minutes.
A neat passing move down the left ended with Curtis’ centre catching out Keith Cowan and the alert Patterson, with virtually his first touch fired home with his weaker left foot, before racing away to celebrate in front of the Harps supporters.
Neither side created much after Patterson’s goal, although on a few occasions the Brandywell men had chances on the counter attack, but their final ball let them down.
Right at the death McEneff and Curtis both had good opportunities to increase City’s lead but Burke denied the midfielder and the Republic of Ireland U21 front man fired wide.
Finn Harps: Burke, Friel, Coll, Cowan, Devers, McBride, Timlin (Toland 56), Coyle, Hannon (Duffy 68), Todd, M O’Connor (O’Flynn HT).
Derry City: G Doherty, McDermott, Cole, Toal, Doyle (B Doherty 79; Low, Rory Hale, McEneff; Hopkirk (Patterson 60), Curtis, Ronan Hale (McDonagh 81).
Referee: Mr John McLaughlin.