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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Waterford boss sent off, as Finn Harps prevail in 5-goal thriller

The Ballybofey outfit have now picked up eight points from their last four outings, as Alan Reynolds was given his marching orders.

Finn Harps' Mikey Place scored twice tonight (file pic).
Finn Harps' Mikey Place scored twice tonight (file pic).
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Finn Harps 3

Waterford FC 2

Alan Foley reports from Finn Park

DRAMA WAS THE order of the night in Ballybofey as Sean Boyd struck a last-minute winner for Finn Harps to overcome Waterford United and leapfrog UCD at the bottom of the Premier Division table.

It had looked as though Harps, who have now picked up eight points from their last four outings, were headed for a somewhat routine 2-1 victory. After Waterford’s Aaron Drinan had opened the scoring, two goals from Mikey Place — from a free-kick and a penalty — gave Harps the interval advantage.

That’s the way it stayed until the 89th minute, when Damien Delaney knocked home from close range to make the score 2-2 and it looked as though Harps would be stuck to the table’s bottom for another week at least. However, a minute later, Boyd managed to seal all three points.

It was the visitors who took the lead as early as the fourth minute when their first real attack of the contest. Shane Duggan took up possession before feeding the ball to Cory Galvin, who slipped in Drinan to shoot past Peter Burke in the Harps goal.

However, on 23 minutes, Harps were awarded a free on the edge of the penalty area and Place stepped up to curl the ball past goalkeeper Matt Connor, who got hands on the effort but couldn’t keep it out.

Then, on 36 minutes, Harps were awarded a penalty when Georgie Poynton appeared to catch Liam Walsh with a slap to the face and match referee Paul McLaughlin pointed to the spot. Place did the necessary to shoot past Connor, high to the netminder’s left.

The Ballybofey side were decimated with four players suspended – Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Mark Coyle and the in-form Caolan McAleer – while they were also without the services of the injured Ciaran Gallagher, Rafaelle Cretaro, Harry Ascroft, Mark Timlin and Gareth Harkin.

That list was added to when Michael Gallagher was stretchered off after only eight minutes. But with Harps a goal down and Waterford having begun well, the side managed by Ollie Horgan managed to get a grip on things and go in 2-1 up at half-time.

It could’ve been three and perhaps should’ve been three, only for Boyd to head over the crossbar from only six yards after Tony McNamee’s long throw had been inexcusably allowed to bounce by the Waterford defence.

Waterford had run out easy 4-0 winners the last time the sides met at the RSC in March and needed an improvement on their first-half performance to get something from the long trek to the north-west.

The first chance of the second half, though, was for those in blue. Place won back the ball and set Boyd away, only for the Shamrock Rovers loanee to dwell too long and therefore, he was unable to get sufficient purchase on the shot at goal. But his moment would come.

Waterford began to press and Ishmahil Akinade, just two minutes after the hour, got the ball down, turned, only to be denied by a block from the impressive Niall Logue. At the other end, on the counter, Boyd got in again, only for Rory Feely to make a last-gasp tackle.

With eight minutes left, Waterford manager Alan Reynolds was sent to the stands for holding onto the ball when Place was looking to take a quick throw-in.

The visitors then equalised in the 89th minute, when Delaney tucked in, after Akinade had headed back Poynton’s corner.

Finn Park wasn’t quiet for long though. A minute later, Boyd tucked the ball beneath Connor from close range from a delicate Place pass to raise the decibel level again.

Finn Harps: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Niall Logue, Daniel O’Reilly; Michael Gallagher (Colm Deasy 8), Liam Walsh (Nathan Boyle 63), Tony McNamee, Jacob Borg, Mark Russell; Sean Boyd, Mikey Place (Stephen Doherty 88).

Waterford United: Matt Connor; Georgie Poynton, Rory Feely, Damien Delaney, JJ Lunney; Shane Duggan, Karolis Chvedukus (Scott Twine 65); Cory Galvin, Bastien Hery, Aaron Drinan; Ishmahil Akinade.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

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About the author:

Alan Foley

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