Finn Harps end Derry City's eight match unbeaten run

Declan Devine watched from the stand as Derry City slumped to defeat against Finn Harps.
Declan Devine watched from the stand as Derry City slumped to defeat against Finn Harps.

Finn Harps 1 Derry City 0

AUSTRALIAN defender, Harry Ashcroft ended Derry City's eight match unbeaten run as his second half header handed Finn Harps a first North West derby victory over their rivals since April 2017.

It was Derry's first defeat since the 1-0 loss to St Pat's on May 21st and a major blow to their European aspirations as they remain five points behind third placed Bohemians with 10 games to go.

And in truth it was a toothless display from the Candy Stripes who registered just one shot on target in the entire match - Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's 43rd minute strike which was saved well by Mark Anthony McGinley.

After three successive defeats to Derry this season it was a welcome victory for Harps who have won consecutive league matches, as they continue to battle against the drop.

Declan Devine had to watch from the stands as he served his one match touchline ban. The City boss made just the one change from the team which clinched a 3-0 victory over Sligo Rovers last time out.

Eoin Toal returned from suspension to take his place in the centre of defence as he replaced Conor Davis with Darren Cole slotting back in at right-back. New signing, Grant Gillespie was named on the substitute's bench.

It was a frustrating start to the game for the visitors who failed to register a shot at the Harps goal until 22 minutes when Gerardo Bruna blasted his free-kick from 25 yards over the crossbar.

Harps were presented with a promising chance from a free-kick wide on the left and when Cretaro - making his 500th League of Ireland appearance - crossed towards the back post, Keith Cowan directed his towering header the wrong side of the post.

At the other end Greg Sloggett sent Jamie McDonagh scampering clear down the right flank and his dangerous cross into the six yard box was cleared by the Harps defence.

The ball was kept alive and McDonagh sent a delicate ball into the box and Junior's tame header went wide of the far post.

Five minutes before the interval a long punt upfield found Parkhouse who touched it down to McDonagh 20 yards from the Harps net but the winger's low strike went wide.

Harps were under pressure and Junior fashioned the first shot on target on 43 minutes after Junior skilfully turning his man inside the box before taking on the strike with his left foot but McGinley saved with his feet.

Derry almost capitalised on a poor back pass from Sam Todd and McGinley sliced his clearance allowing Parkhouse to get a header on it but he sent it wide under pressure from the Harps keeper.

Harps made a positive start to the second half but 10 minutes in Derry were gifted a glorious chance when Sloggett won possession and slotted McDonagh through on goal but his strike from the 18 yard line was turned behind by McGinley.

Junior had a chance from an inswinging corner from the impressive Bruna on 62 minutes but the striker saw it late in a crowded penalty area and sent his close range effort over the bar.

Harps hit the front on 67 minutes from a long throw-in from substitute, Tony McNamee who launched the ball towards the Derry six yard box and Ashcroft rose above his man and found the bottom corner with his downward header.

Former Derry forward, Mikey Place flashed an effort across the face of goal and out for a throw-in after neat footwork inside the penalty area saw him ease past Gilchrist.

Derry made a double substitution with Michael McCrudden and Eoghan Stokes coming on for Toal and Junior in a desperate attempt to get back in the game with just 13 minutes remaining.

Davis was then brought off the bench as City threw caution to the wind but despite the late pressure they failed to trouble the Harps keeper.

Finn Harps: M. McGinley: J. Borg, D. O'Reilly, S. Todd, K. Cowan, M. Russell; M. Timlin (T. McNamee 63), H. Ascroft, G. Harkin; M. Place (L. Walsh 90); R. Cretaro (Shaun Doherty 84); Subs Not Used - P. Burke, C. Deasy,S. Doherty, J. Smith.

Derry City: P. Cherrie: D. Cole, E. Toal (M. McCrudden 77), A. Gilchrist, C. Coll; J. Ogedi-Uzokwe (E. Stokes 77), G. Bruna, G. Sloggett, C. Harkin (C. Davis 79), J. McDonagh; D. Parkhouse; Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, M. McChrystal, G. Gillespie, J. Malone

Referee - Neil Doyle.