Ciaron Harkin nets hat-trick as Derry City out-class Finn Harps in derby
Derry City 4 Finn Harps 0
CIARON HARKIN became the first player to bag a hat-trick in the North West derby in 32 years with a magnificent treble as Derry City outclassed their Donegal rivals, Finn Harps..
It was a one-side affair at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium as City made it six derby wins in succession against Harps and a first league win in six attempts which moved them to within a point of third placed Bohemians.
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe saw his 32nd minute penalty saved by Peter Burke before he firing in the rebound from two yards to open the scoring for the home side and then had a wonderful overhead kick harshly chalked off for dangerous play 10 minutes later.
And on the stroke of half-time Harkin netted the first of his hat-trick with a stunning free-kick from 20 yards.
It was all one-way traffic in the second half and 'man of the match', Harkin made certain of the win after shambolic defending from Harps as he swept his shot into the far corner from 14 yards.
The midfielder then completed his rout in stoppage time from close range to score the first hat-trick in a North West derby since Alex Krstic back in March 1987!
Declan Devine made three changes to the team which lost against St Patrick's Athletic on Tuesday night. Skipper, Barry McNamee, Jamie McDonagh and Josh Kerr came back into the starting XI at the expense of the injured Darren Cole and Adrian Delap and Conor McDermott who both dropped to the bench.
Finn Harps, coming off the back of a 3-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers, made four changes. Keith Cowan, Rafa Cretaro, Sean Boyd and Tony McNamee came into the team at the expense of Jacob Borg, Nathan Boyle, Mikey Place and Niall Logue.
Derry tested the reflexes of Harps keeper, Peter Burke on nine minutes from a Jamie McDonagh free-kick wide on the left. Greg Sloggett headed towards goal at the back post and when Burke palmed it away, Josh Kerr reacted quickest but blasted the rebound over the bar.
From a well worked McDonagh corner kick. Gerardo Bruna arrived unmarked into the penalty area but his low strike was deflected behind for another corner.
Harps' first effort on goal came on 17 minutes when a loose ball fell kindly to Tony McNamee on the edge of the area but he ballooned his strike into the dog track at the Showgrounds end of the stadium.
The Donegal men almost capitalised on a long throw-in from McNamee on 28 minutes. Cowan flicked it on with his head and Peter Cherrie failed to connect with his punch as Daniel O'Reilly's header was deflected narrowly wide.
Ogedi-Uzokwe skipped past Mark Russell before sending a cross towards the far post and Parkhouse went down under the challenge of O'Reilly as referee, Tomas Connolly pointed to the spot on 31 minutes.
Up stepped Ogedi-Uzokwe and his tame spot-kick was saved by Burke but the Derry striker reacted quickly and made no mistake with the rebound from two yards for his third goal of the season.
Ogedi-Uzokwe netted a spectacular overhead kick into the top corner from 10 yards after Bruna had sent the ball into the box but the referee awarded a free kick to Harps for a high boot on 42 minutes.
On the stroke of half-time Ogedi-Uzokwe was fouled on the edge of the penalty area by Caolan McAleer and Harkin curled his sublime free-kick into the net to double City's lead.
Harps faced an uphill struggle going into the second half having scored just two goals away from home all season.
City striker, Ogedi-Uzokwe appeared to be brought down inside the penalty area by the outstretched leg of a Harps defender just short of the hour mark but the referee waved play on.
Derry kept the move alive and the ball eventually fell to Ogedi-Uzokwe who shot on the turn but his effort was cleared off the line by Sam Todd.
City made it 3-0 after a comedy of errors in the Harps' defence as Harkin picked up the loose ball just inside the 18 yard box and swept it into the bottom corner to complete his brace.
And the midfielder capped a wonderful performance as he drilled into the net from close range following a cross from Ogedi-Uzokwe to complete his hat-trick in stoppage time.
The teams meet once again on Monday night in the EA Sports Cup quarter-final on Foyleside.
Derry City: P. Cherrie; J. McDonagh, E. Toal, J. Kerr, C. Coll; J. Ogedi-Uzokwe, C. Harkin, G. Sloggett, G. Bruna (S. McNamee 81); B. McNamee (J. Malone 76); D. Parkhouse (A. Delap 74); Subs Not Used - N. Gartside, C. McDermott, G. Seraf, A. Gilchrist.
Finn Harps: P. Burke; C. Deasy (N. Boyle 56), K. Cowan, S. Todd, D. O'Reilly; M. Russell, M. Coyle, T. McNamee (J. Borg 56); C. McAleer, R. Cretaro (M. Place 76), S. Boyd; Subs Not Used - M. Anthony McGinley, L. Walsh, S. Doherty, N. Logue.
Referee - Tomas Connolly.