Jamie McGonigle kept his nerve from the penalty spot.
Finn Harps 1
Derry City 1
There was huge drama at Finn Park as Jamie McGonigle’s late penalty saved Derry City from defeat in a dramatic finale in the Northwest derby.
It looked as if the Candystripes were headed to defeat when Ethan Boyle headed Harps into the lead with just 6 minutes remaining, but McGonigle kept his nerve when presented with a penalty just 2 minutes later.
The point does not help either side, with Harps still in relegation trouble, while City have just won one game in their last six.
The first hour gave no hint of the late drama to come. It was all Harps in the early stages, and Babatunde Owolabi could have opened the scoring within two minutes as he shrugged off Cameron McJannet before bearing down on goal and shooting high into the side netting. Harps were only encouraged by that and minutes later Nathan Gartside had to be alert to push away a volley from Ethan Boyle, who tried his luck from 20 yards as the Derry defence stood off.
It took Derry City 40 minutes to have a shot of any sort at Mark McGinley in the Harps goal, but Ciaron Harkin’s effort from 25 yards rolled harmlessly wide without bothering the Harps goalkeeper.
There was simply nothing between the sides as the game went on but Derry City should have nicked it on 82 minutes. Harps lost possession in midfield and James Akintunde flicked the ball over the defence to put substitute Jamie McGonigle in on goal. The striker was one on one with Mark McGinley but lobbed it over the goalkeeper and the open goal and the chance was gone.
That proved to be costly for Derry as Harps went down the other end and scored within 60 seconds. Ryan Connolly delivered a free kick into the heart of the City penalty area and it was met by Ethan Boyle who powered a header past Gartside into the net.
Harps’ jubilation was cut abruptly short within a minute however as Boyle went from hero to villain as he was adjudged to have handled Jamie McGonigle’s cross and referee Ben Connolly pointed to the penalty spot. It was McGonigle who stepped up and he sent McGonigle the wrong way to score a vital equaliser for Derry City.
FINN HARPS: McGinley, Boyle, Sadiki, Webster, Mustoe; Coyle (O’Sullivan 68’), Seymore, Connolly; Rainey, Owolabi (Rudden 90’), McNamee (Foley 77’).
DERRY CITY: Gartside, Malone (Fitzgerald 84’) Toal, McJannet (Boyce 77’), Coll, Lafferty; Harkin, Hery (Jamie McGonigle 72’), Thomson; Akintunde, Ogedi-Uzokwe.
REFEREE: Ben Connolly (Dublin).
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