Belfast Telegraph

Three and easy as Candystripes breeze past Harps

Derry City 3 Finn Harps 0

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City all but secured Europa League football next season with an emphatic win over Finn Harps in an entertaining Northwest derby at Maginn Park.

On a good night for the Candystripes, Bray Wanderers and Shamrock Rovers both dropped points, with another third-place finish a real possibility for Kenny Shiels and his players who edged Harps ever closer to relegation from the Premier Division.

Derry were the better team in the opening period and they got their reward with the opening goal on 24 minutes.

The goal owed as much to the determination of Ronan Curtis as much as the naivety of Damien McNulty, who dallied on the ball in his own half.

Curtis charged his attempted clearance down before he arced through on goal, drilling the ball across goal and past Ciaran Gallagher into the corner of the net for his ninth goal of the season.

Gallagher was very nearly picking the ball out of his net again on 34 minutes thanks to a superb effort from McEneff.

Picked out by a backwards header from Schubert, McEneff skipped through two challenges right to the edge of the Harps penalty area.

From here, he adjusted his body shape before attempting to cut the ball beyond the Harps goalkeeper into the top corner.

Gallagher was rooted to his spot but fortunately for Harps, the ball narrowly missed the post.

Harps found themselves two goals down on the hour mark and again it was a goal which owed a lot to Derry determination and Harps' poor defending.

Aaron McEneff spread a superb pass cross field for Ronan Curtis who headed the ball forward into his own path.

Packie Mailey should have taken control of the situation but Curtis rose highest and headed the ball on again before racing in behind the Harps defence.

Curtis could have went all the way to goal but he instead squared the ball for Patterson, who hammered the ball into the open net to bag his second goal of the season.

Any hopes that Harps had of taking something from the game were then ended on 61 minutes as Derry went 3-0 up. Ben Doherty was allowed to cross left-footed from the touch line, with Gallagher not coming to collect.

Patterson was all alone and he simply headed the ball into the net from close range.

Derry City: Doherty, McDermott, McEneff, McNamee, Monaghan (Tweed 81), Curtis, Patterson (McBride 86), Cole, Doherty, Schubert (Boyle 71), Barry.

Finn Harps: Gallagher, McNulty, Coll, Cantwell, Mailey, Harkin, Morrissey, McAleer, Houston (Keita 65), McBride (Bonnar 61), Dsane (Banda 54).

Referee: Ben Connolly.

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