Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Presseye/Lorcan Doherty/INPHO The Finn Harps players celebrate Ryan Curran's goal.
# point apiece
Houston rescues a share of the spoils for Finn Harps in north-west derby
Derry had to settle for a 2-2 draw at the Brandywell this evening.

Derry City 2

Finn Harps 2

DERRY CITY SUBSTITUTE Nathan Boyle missed an empty net in the dying seconds of the North West derby as Finn Harps escaped with a share of the spoils.

There was a late flurry of goals at the end of the second half as Derry fought back from a first half Ryan Curran goal and went in front through goals from Josh Daniels and Rory Patterson.

However, former City midfielder Sean Houston rose to head home Michael Funston’s cross in stoppage time to rescue a point.

But Boyle should really have won it for Derry in the final action of the game but shot wide of the open net.

Harps deservedly opened the scoring on 20 minutes after Dave Scully’s thunderous strike from just inside the penalty area crashed off the underside of the crossbar and the rebound fell kindly to the unmarked Curran who headed into the net.

That goal seemed to finally spark Derry into life and when Patrick McClean’s cross was chested into the path of McNamee by Patterson, the midfielder’s first time strike was parried away by Ciaran Gallagher.

Patterson really should have equalised on 28 minutes when Keith Ward found him lurking on the edge of the penalty area but he screwed his shot wide of the goal as Gallagher came scurrying out of his net.

Patterson was brought down 20 yards from the Harps goal by Packie Mailey but Ward sent the resultant free-kick harmlessly over the bar.

From a well worked corner just before half-time, McNamee found Ronan Curtis free 25 yards from goal but his low shot was saved at the second attempt by Gallagher.

The home side started the second half brightly and Conor McCormack found Ward with a beautifully crafted pass in behind the Harps defence but his shot was saved well by Gallagher.

Niclas Vemmelund and Curtis then curled their respective efforts wide of the target as Derry turned up the heat.

Gallagher came to Harps’ rescue on 70 minutes when Ward’s deflected shot fell to the feet of Curtis and the Harps keeper stood tall to palm away the winger’s close range strike.

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Harps were soaking up the pressure and almost caught Derry on the break as Adam Hanlon scampered clear but his shot was pushed away superbly by Gerard Doherty.

Moments later Vemmelund whipped in a cross from the right and substitute Dean Jarvis’ downward header from four yards was somehow cleared off the line by Gallagher.

It was only a matter of time before Derry broke down the resolute Harps defence and the equaliser arrived six minutes from time.

Boyle’s cross in from the right came to fellow substitute, Daniels who slotted into the net at the far post.

And four minutes later Daniels cut the ball back to Patterson who arrowed his shot into the far corner of the net.

But Harps hit back in stoppage time when Michael Funston’s cross was headed into tjhe net by the unmarked Houston.

Derry City: G. Doherty; N. Vemmelund, R. McBride, A. Barry, P. McClean (D. Jarvis h-t); C. McCormack, A. McEneff; K. Ward (J. Daniels 78), B. McNamee, R. Curtis (N/ Boyle 78); R. Patterson..

Finn Harps: C. Gallagher; D. McNulty, K. Cowan, P. Mailey, C. Coll; A. Hanlon, S. Houston, B. Molloy, T. McNamee (E. Boyle 74), R., Curran; D. Scully.

Referee: Neil Doyle
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