Aaron O'Hagan 45' -
Gary Merritt 122' -
Sean McCarron 124' -
Jonny Bonner 126' -
Matt Harkin 128' -
Aaron O'Hagan 130' -
Shaun McGowan 132' -
Paul McVeigh 134' -
Thomas Bonner 136' -
Finn Harps 1-1 Derry City (after extra-time. Derry won 6-5 on penalties)
Derry City sneaked into the third round of the EA Sports League Cup when they defeated a spirited Finn Harps on penalties in Ballybofey on Monday night.
Thomas Bonner skied the last penalty of the night after City debutant Raymond Foy had put his side 6-5 up in the shoot-out. Harps’ Paul McVeigh had the chance to win it for the hosts moments beforehand, only to hit the base of the post. Gerard Doherty saved the first of the spot kicks from Gary Merritt, while Ciaran Gallagher denied Shane McEleney and Simon Madden. It was a tense affair.
Harps’ last win over their neighbours came in 2000, when Alex Nesovic scored the only goal of the game. It was only their fifth win in 58 matches. However, Patterson’s second yellow of the evening, 15 minutes from time for catching Ciaran Coll high, meant Harps poker chips were stacked a little higher.
In an entertaining match, a largely Harps second string proved themselves more than a match for the illustrious opponents, both in heart and ability. Sixteen minutes in, though, the Premier Division team took the lead thanks to an improvised effort from Patterson – his 13th goal of the season.
Harps failed to clear with both O’Hagan and Ciaran Coll having bites before Simon Madden’s touch bounced to Patterson, who instantly hooked a volley over his own shoulder, which flew past Ciaran Gallagher. It was a real poacher’s goal.
Johnny Bonner, who floated between midfield and supporting lone striker Paul McVeigh, trickled a shot towards Gerard Doherty on 13 minutes. Patterson went close to a second eight minutes before half-time as, following a precise move that also involved Madden and Patrick McEleney, his volley was blocked by Keith Cowan at the expense of a corner.
With the first half about to end, Harps got themselves back on terms with a fine header from O’Hagan, who rose the highest in a crowded penalty area, to plant a looping effort across Doherty and home following a free-kick from Johnny Bonner.
Both sides made considerable alterations from the starting teams from Friday night. Hutton, following the 1-0 home win over Mervue United, made eight changes with only goalkeeper Gallagher, Coll and Cowan retaining their places. Josh Mailey made his debut at left-back and Mark Forker came into midfield, thus making his first start since rejoining the Ballybofey club from Letterkenny Rovers.
Declan Devin brought in Dermot McCaffrey, Stuart Greacen, Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy and Ryan Curran in place of Sean Houston, Ryan McBride, Barry Molloy, Kevin Deery and Mark Griffin, who all featured in the 3-2 win at Drogheda United.
Derry really ought to have re-established their lead at the start of the second half when Shane McEleney snuck around the back following a Barry McNamee free-kick but a combination of Gallagher and the base of the post kept the Derry centre-half out.
Chances came and went at both ends. Bonner broke into the box with intent for Harps only to see Doherty save and then Stuart Greacen headed inches over the crossbar at the other end after a corner from Patrick McEleney.
After Patterson’s dismissal, O’Hagan almost etched himself into Harps folklore when he steered narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the area following Doherty’s punch from a Bonner free.
McVeigh then found himself in a corridor of opportunity having been released by Shaun McGowan, only to be thwarted by the Derry goalkeeper after a thumping shot that restored parity on 90 minutes.
Nearing the end of the first period of extra-time, Harps had a fortunate escape when Cowan cleared off the line as the ball was squirming over after a Madden cross almost caught Gallagher and Thomas Bonner with their wires crossed. Mark Griffin then spun a shot inches wide as the locals chomped on their fingernails.
Madden went as close as anyone as the shadows lengthened in the second period but the marauding right-back could only shoot into Gallagher’s side-netting when found by McNamee.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Josh Mailey (Sean McCarron 97), Aaron O’Hagan, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll; Michéal Doherty (Gary Merritt 91), Mark Forker (Thomas Bonner 82), Shaun McGowan, Matthew Harkin; Johnny Bonner, Paul McVeigh.
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, James Doherty, Marc Brolly, Kevin McHugh.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Simon Madden, Shane McEleney, Stuart Greacen, Dermot McCaffrey; Ryan Curran (Raymond Foy 99), Ruaidhri Higgins, Barry McNamee, Michael Duffy; Patrick McEleney (Mark Griffin 80), Rory Patterson.
Subs not used: Joe Coll, Conal Kelly, Mathew Henry, Shaun Curran, Tony McNamee.
Referee: Rob Rogers.