Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Derry City on song against Harps

Derry City 2 Finn Harps 0

Derry City striker James McClean (left) punches the air in delight after his goal against Finn Harps
Derry City striker James McClean (left) punches the air in delight after his goal against Finn Harps

Derry City’s domination of North West rivals Finn Harps continued last night, thanks to goals from in-form duo James McClean and David McDaid.

The victory cements the Brandywell men’s place at the top of the First Division table and they also made it seven league wins in a row.

As expected the Candystripes were unchanged from the side that ran riot at Salthill Devon on Saturday, while Finn Harps made two changes to the side which secured a 0-0 draw with Cork City Foras Co-op last Friday night.

Veteran defender Jonathan Minnock and Michael Funston both came into their starting line-up replacing Gary Whoriskey and Mark Forker, who both dropped to the Harps bench.

For all their domination, the home side’s only real chances in the opening quarter came from a set-play. Kevin Deery’s well-worked free-kick on 14 minutes found Emmett Friars, but his header back across the goal couldn’t be turned home by either Mark Scoltock or Mark McChrystal.

Derry missed a golden opportunity to take the lead on 30 minutes when Ruairi Harkin’s pass released McDaid, but his attempted chip over the out-rushing Liam Mailey was kept out by the keeper and Harkin’s follow-up shot was cleared off the line by Matt Crossan.

The home side did take the lead in controversial circumstances on 46 minutes when referee Rob Rogers made McClean re-take his free-kick on the edge of the box because Harps striker Davitt Walsh had broken from the wall before the winger had hit the ball.

Unfortunately for Walsh, the youngster’s second crack from 20 yards fizzed low into Mailey’s bottom right hand corner to spark wild celebrations among the home supporters.

A defensive mistake right at the start of the second half resulted in the Brandywell side doubling their advantage.

Crossan failed to see that Mailey was rushing from his line to mop up and his back header caused problems for the Harps keeper, the alert McDaid on hand to side foot home his sixth goal of the season.

The visitors’ night got worse on 63 minutes when Minnock was dismissed after he received his second yellow for stupidly up-ending the dangerous McClean on the right hand touchline.

And in the dying moments Harps defender Crossan was sent-off for an off the ball incident.

Derry City: Doherty, McCallion, Scoltock, McChrystal, Friars, P McEleney, Deery, Molloy, McClean, Harkin, McDaid. Subs: Cassidy for Harkin (36), Sweeney for P McEleney (80), Farren for McClean (87).

Finn Harps: L Mailey, Doherty, P Mailey, Crossan, Minnock; Funston, Bonner, Lafferty, Brolly, Walsh, McHugh. Subs: Forker for Bonner (27), McLaughlin and Whoriskey for Walsh and Brolly (67).

Referee: Rob Rogers (Dublin).

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